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Sergius  M.  TrufanoS 






MHI^ft/l       /  f  ^  t 


Dled.   Sergei   M.   Trufanov,    71,   once 
known  as  "Iliodor,  the  Mad  Monk  of  Rus- 
sia," demagogic  foe  of  Rasputin,  his  one- 
time mentor  and  ally;  of  a  heart  ailment;  ; 
in  Manhattan.  Trufanov  lost  his  political 
struggle  with  Rasputin,  fled  unfrocked  to  ■ 
New  York,  went  back  to  Russia  after  the  I 
Revolution   with   a   quixotic   plan   to   set 
himself  up  as  the  "Russian  Pope"  and  re- 
vamp the  Orthodox   Church  to  suit  the 
Bolsheviks.  Embittered  and  disillusioned, 
he  came  back  to  the  U.S.  for  good  in  1921,  | 
became  a  Baptist,  got  work  as  a  janitor, 
passed  his  final  decades  in  obscurity. 






Copyright,  1918,  by 
The  Century  Co. 

Published,  February,  1918 






Everything  that  I  write  in  this  book  I  have  seen 
and  heard  myself.  What  I  have  seen  and  heard  I 
could  not  write  before  my  arrival  in  this  great  and 
free  country,  the  United  States;  and  even  here  until 
the  last  few  months,  owing  to  a  combination  of  in- 
auspicious circumstances  and  pohtical  reasons,  I  have 
not  been  able  to  pubhsh  anything  relating  to  the 
former  Russian  court  and  the  causes  which  brought 
about  the  Russian  Revolution.  In  consequence,  my 
revelations  in  their  complete  form  have  never  before 
seen  the  light. 

The  English  language  press  in  this  country  has 
swarmed  with  articles  on  Russia  and  Russian  court 
life  emanating  from  people  who  had  seen  virtually 
nothing  of  it,  and  whose  authenticity  cannot  be  de- 
pended upon.  They  never  saw  the  czar;  they  never 
saw  Rasputin  as  he  really  was.  The  mutilation  and 
distortion  of  my  story  has  been  a  source  of  great 
sorrow  to  me,  and  I  have  asked  myself  a  dozen  times 
a  day,  "Is  it  possible  that  I,  the  most  intimate  friend 
Rasputin  ever  had,  will  have  no  opportunity  to  have 
my  say?"  There  was  a  time  when  I  lost  all  hope  and 
decided  to  return  to  Russia.     Then  I  met  Felix  de 

Thiele,    who,    moved    only    by    altruistic    motives, 



smoothed  my  path  for  me,  with  the  result  that,  as  I 
hope,  my  revelations  will  be  spread  through  the 
United  States  and  the  whole  world.  For  the  dis- 
interested services  which  Felix  de  Thiele  has 
rendered  in  this  work  I  wish  to  express  my  deepest 
gratitude  and  appreciation. 

Is  it  necessary  for  me  to  convince  you,  my  esteemed 
American  readers,  that  what  I  have  to  tell  deserves 
your  attention?  Let  the  facts  speak  for  themselves 
— the  facts  which  I  shall  narrate  to  you  exactly  as 
they  have  occurred  during  the  course  of  my  life. 
These  facts  are  as  uncommon  as  your  gigantic  sky- 
scrapers, the  towers  of  which,  it  seems,  are  about  to 
reach  the  sky  and  the  stars. 

I  know  you  have  heard  many  wild  rumors  and 
strange  legends  about  me.  INIore  than  one  fantastic 
story  has  been  circulated  here  about  the  "Mad  Monk" 
of  the  legendaiy  land  of  the  czars,  about  Iliodor,  a 
name  that  has  probably  called  forth  in  this  country  a 
feeling  of  dread  and  astonishment,  just  as  it  did 
among  certain  classes  of  the  Russian  population. 

You  have  heard  of  the  fiery  reactionary  speeches 
of  the  monk,  you  have  heard  that  he  traveled  from 
one  end  of  Russia  to  the  other,  sowing  hatred  in  his 
wake  and  kindling  the  people's  wrath.  You  have 
been  informed  that  Father  Iliodor  was  the  dark 
shadow  of  Russia,  the  czar's  evil  genius,  and  one  of 
the  chief  crusaders  against  those  who  strove  for 
freedom  in  Russia.     I  believe  you  have  also  formed 


some  idea  of  the  wild  terror  which  the  name  of  Monk 
Ihodor  inspired  in  the  Jewish  population  of  Russia. 

Later,  many  of  you  heard  how  this  same  "Mad 
Monk"  waged  war  against  the  Holy  Synod,  against 
the  reactionists,  and  against  all  those  who  oppressed 
and  tortured  the  poor.  A  legend  reached  you  of  a 
young  man  whom  thousands  followed  blindly,  who 
traversed  on  foot  the  whole  of  Russia,  preaching,  ap- 
pealing, arousing,  and  terrorizing  those  whom  he  had 
formerly  aided  in  extinguishing  the  light  from 
Russia.  You  heard  how  the  Monk  Iliodor  withstood 
a  formal  siege  in  his  monastery  at  Tsaritzin  for 
twenty  days  running,  and  finally  emerged  victorious 
over  the  Holy  Synod  and  the  entire  Russian  ruling 
clique.  Still  later  you  heard  that  I  had  escaped 
from  Russia,  and  that  high  Russian  government 
officials  had  been  sent  abroad  to  negotiate  with  me 
regarding  a  proposed  attempt  on  Rasputin's  life. 
Intimations  have  also  reached  you  concerning  the 
scandalous  secrets  of  the  czar's  court  which  were 
in  my  possession  and  of  which  attempts  were  re- 
peatedly made  to  deprive  me. 

Now  I  come  to  you  with  my  confessions.  I  wish 
to  introduce  myself  to  you.  I  wish  to  tell  you  who 
I  am,  whence  I  come,  how  I  lived  in  my  native 
country,  what  part  I  played  there  once  upon  a  time, 
what  I  am  now,  and  how  the  change  in  me  has  taken 

Yes,  I  was  once  one  of  the  mainstays  of  Russia's 
reactionists.     The    reactionists    introduced    me    to 


society,  placed  me  on  terms  of  friendship  with  counts, 
princes,  and  other  dignitaries,  and  helped  me  to  gain 
the  czar's  esteem.  They  considered  me  a  great  man. 
They  revealed  their  secrets  to  me.  I  was  their  ad- 
viser, and  I  shielded  their  dastardly  deeds. 

Later,  a  complete  change  came  over  me.  This 
change  also  I  wish  to  relate.  I  wish  to  tell  the  whole 
story  of  my  participation  in  the  historical  events  of 
contemporary  Russia.  I  shall  endeavor  to  tell  the 
truth,  and  nothing  but  the  truth,  about  myself. 
Naturally  enough,  it  may  happen  that  I  tell  you 
more  good  than  evil  about  myself.  Do  not,  however, 
impute  this  to  me  as  a  sin.  Be  certain  that  all  the 
evil  about  myself  which  I  withhold  will  be  exposed 
by  my  "friends."  A  great  many  such  "friends"  I 
have  in  Russia.  As  a  rule,  I  bless  them,  because  they 
teach  me  modesty,  exposing  before  the  judgment  of 
mankind  that  which  my  own  human  weakness  would 
compel  me  to  conceal.  But  now  I  owe  them  still  an- 
other favor:  it  is  thanks  to  them  that  I  have  be- 
held America. 

I  hope  to  make  it  clear  in  this  book  that  the  dark- 
ness of  Russia's  condition  and  the  reign  of  the 
Romanoffs  were  alike  outgrowths  of  the  peculiar 
mysticism  of  the  Russian  people.  From  the  seeds 
of  this  mysticism  grew  up  in  the  shadow  of  the 
Russian  Court  two  forces,  the  "Sinful  Angel"  and 
the  "Holy  Devil."  The  symbol  of  the  dark  force 
was  Rasputin.  Is  it  possible  for  me  to  present  my- 
self as  the  personification  of  the  power  of  light?    By 


this  I  only  mean  that  I  was  striving  toward  the  truth, 
like  all  other  human  beings  subject  to  error  based 
on  the  influences  of  my  education,  the  surroundings 
in  which  I  passed  my  boyhood,  and  my  subjection  to 
superstitious  prejudices.  My  character  represents 
the  secret  energies  within  the  human  body  which  drive 
toward  truth.  Rasputin,  on  the  other  hand,  was  the 
"Holy  Devil"  in  a  bodj^  that  was  revered  by  all.  He 
represented  darkness,  corruption,  the  source  of  the 
evils  of  Russia.  He  was,  in  short,  a  devil  clothed 
in  the  garments  of  an  angel. 

Whoever  reads  my  book  can  have  no  two  opinions 
of  Rasputin's  activity.  The  reader's  soul  will  over- 
flow with  feelings  of  indignation  and  revolt  against 
the  famous  "saint  of  the  court"  and  his  mad  and 
selfish  sovereigns  and  other  devotees.  In  picturing 
the  "Holy  Devil"  I  shall  attempt  to  be  mainly  ob- 
jective. I  shall  endeavor  to  write  as  if  the  "saint" 
had  never  done  me  any  harm ;  and  if,  anywhere,  even 
for  a  moment,  I  give  vent  merely  to  my  own  feelings, 
I  pray  the  reader  to  forgive  me.  I  think  my  readers 
will  gladly  be  lenient  with  me  after  they  have  become 
acquainted  with  the  facts  that  I  present,  when  the 
portrait  of  the  "Holy  Devil"  rises  before  them,  un- 
deniably clear  and  authentic,  a  portrait  painted  not 
by  an  artist  of  the  brush,  but  by  a  very  modest  artist 
of  the  word. 

As  I  intend  that  this  book  shall  not  only  be  of  in- 
terest to  the  popular  reader,  but  shall  serve  as  an  in- 


disputable  historical  document  characterizing  the  re- 
ligious, civil,  and  political  life  of  Russia  during  the 
earl}^  twentieth  century,  in  wi'iting  it  I  have  followed 
only  the  most  rigidly  verified  evidence.  A  list  of 
my  authorities  I  present  here: 

(1)  Czar  Nicholas's  opinion  of  the  saint,  which 
I  heard  in  person  when  I  was  presented  to  him  on 
May  21,  1911,  at  5  p.  m. 

(2)  Czarina  Alexandra's  opinion  of  the  saint, 
which  I  heard  in  person  when  I  was  presented  to  her 
on  April  3,  1909,  at  9  p.  m. 

(3)  Letters  and  opinions  of  the  saint  written  or 
expressed  in  the  hearing  of  all  by  Grand  Duchess 
Militza  Nicolaivna. 

(4)  Rasputin's  own  stories  about  himself  and  the 
part  he  played  at  the  court,  etc.  (Diaries  in  his  own 
handwriting  and  collected  sayings.) 

(5)  Letters  of  eminent  ecclesiastics,  bishops  and 
archimandrites,  about  Rasputin,  addressed  both  to 
me  and  to  other  persons,  and  their  stories  about  Ras- 

(6)  "The  Life  of  an  Experienced  Pilgrim," 
wi'itten  by  Rasputin  himself  and  transcribed  by 
Chionia  Berlatzkava. 

(7)  The  voluminous  diaries,  running  to  200  or  250 
pages  each,  of  Mme.  Olga  Lochtina,  believed  to  have 
been  the  first  dupe  of  the  saint,  in  which  she  tells 
truthfully  and  in  detail  the  story  of  her  acquaintance 
with  Rasputin  and  his  activities,  citing  copies  of 
his  numerous  letters  and  telegrams  to  the  imperial 


family,  archbishops  and  other  prominent  personages. 

(8)  Testimonies  regarding  Rasputin  by  authors, 
journahsts,  ministers,  officials,  and  other  persons. 

(9)  Copies  and  originals  of  many  letters  and  tele- 
grams that  Rasputin  sent  to  the  imperial  family,  to 
personages  of  high  rank,  and  to  me,  his  former  friend. 

(10)  Oral  and  written  confessions  of  women  made 
before  priests,  describing  the  "arts"  of  the  saint, 
persons  who  suffered  through  Rasputin,  and  later  de- 
nounced him;  namely,  the  nurse  of  the  imperial  chil- 
dren, Miss  M.  I.  Vishniakova;  Miss  Timofeyev; 
Chionia  Berlatzkaya,  an  officer's  widow;  the  nun 
Xenia  Goncharova;  Helen,  a  coachman's  wife;  Z. 
Vostrikova,  a  priest's  wife;  her  sister,  Mme.  Bour- 
kova;  Mme.  Vargoun,  her  daughter;  an  acquaintance 
of  hers,  the  Tsaritzin  shopkeeper,  A.  M.  Lebedeva; 
Mme.  Golovkova;  Mme.  Lochtina's  daughter  Lada; 
and  others. 

(11)  All  that  I  myself  saw  of  Rasputin's  activi- 
ties in  the  presence  of  witnesses  or  in  circumstances 
that  make  my  account  equally  indisputable. 

Documentary  proofs  of  almost  the  whole  of  my 
story — that  is  to  say,  letters,  telegrams,  six  volumes 
of  Mme.  Lochtina's  original  diaries,  all  kinds  of  other 
records,  and  the  manuscript  of  "The  Life  of  an  Ex- 
perienced Pilgrim" — are  now  in  my  possession. 







I     My  Childhood 3 

II     I  Become  the  Spokesman  of  Autocracy  ...  19 

III     "The  Mad  Monk" 41 


I     My  Acquaintance  with  Rasputin       ....  87 

II     Rasputin's  Own  Story 154* 

III     Rasputin   and   the   Czar's   Court     ....  167 


I     We  Unmask  the  "Holy  Devil" 215 

II     The  Triumph  of  Rasputin 239 

III     I  Escape  from  Russia 268 


I     My  Life  in  Christiania 293 

n     I  Come  to  America 339 

Epilogue 358 



Iliodor Frontispiece 

Iliodor  as  a  seminarian 9 

Home  of  Father  Iliodor's  Parents  at  Bolschoye     .      .      23 

Iliodor  as  a  student 34 

Iliodor  with  his  family  at  Bolschoye 43 

Father  Iliodor  and  his  devotees  at  the  Shrine  of  Saint 

Seraphim 54 

The  old  monastery  at  Tsaritzin 63 

The  new  monastery  at  Tsaritzin 63 

Grave  of  one  of  Father  Iliodor's  followers     ....      69 

Celebration   of   Alexander  Nevsky   Day    at   Tsaritzin 

Monastery 76 

Gregory   Rasputin 89 

Postcard  written  by  Anna  Viroubova 100 

Red  shirt  presented  by  the  Czarina  to  Rasputin     .      .117 

Celebration  of  Alexander  Nevsky's  Name-Day  in  the 

main  square  of  Tsaritzin 127 

Iliodor  during  a  visit  to  his  father's  people  .      .      .      ,141 

Pilgrimage  of  Father  Iliodor  and  his  followers  on  the 

Volga,  July,  1911 152 



Page  of  the  manuscript  of  "  The  Life  of  an  Experienced 

Pilgrim" 157 

Rasputin  surrounded  by  his  court  followers     .      .      .    179 

Postcard  written  to  Rasputin  by  Madame  Lochtina      .    190 

Page  from  Madame  Lochtina's  diaries 203 

A  group  of  Father  Iliodor's  followers  who  volunteered 

to  dig  the  underground  passage     .•     .      .      .      .   221 

Page  of  Gregory  Rasputin's  diary 247 

Iliodor  in  civilian  dress 257 

Facsimile  of  telegram  sent  by  Madame  Lochtina   to 

Anna  Viroubova 271 

Reverse  of  telegram 272 

The  House  at  Bolschoye  from  which  Iliodor  made  his  es- 
cape     277 

Iliodor  immediately  after  his  unfrocking     ....    288 

White  silk  shirt  embroidered  by  the  Czarina  and  given 

by  her  to  Rasputin 305 

Sergius  M.  TrufanofF 331 

Madame  TrufanofF,  Iliodor's  wife,  and  their  two  chil- 
dren     331 

Autograph  of  Iliodor 349 





My  life  began  in  a  poor  peasant's  hut,  it  blossomed 
forth  among  royal  palaces,  and  finally  descended  to 
the  level  of  exile  and  anxious  care  in  a  foreign  land. 
It  has  been  a  wonderful  life.  Born  amidst  poverty 
and  misery,  I  attained  a  high  degree  of  power,  in- 
fluence, esteem,  and  fame.  The  ruler  of  Russia  de- 
fended me  even  when  it  seemed  that  I  was  becoming 
a  menace  to  the  Holy  Synod,  to  the  nobility,  and  to 
the  Government. 

But  the  quest  of  truth  tormented  my  conscience. 
Still  greater  power  and  influence  could  have  been 
mine  for  the  asking  had  I  not  discerned  the  light  of 

My  fatherland  is  Russia.  I  was  born  on  the  banks 
of  the  Don  River,  the  river  of  the  people's  mag- 
nanimity, pride,  and  wrath;  the  river  whose  turbid 
waters  softly  whisper  how  in  the  days  of  old  freedom- 
loving  men  used  to  flock  to  its  banks ;  serfs  who  strove 
for  liberty,  boyars,  or  noblemen,  who  would  not  bend 
to  the  czar's  will,  rebellious  priests,  and  persecuted 



On  those  mysterious  shores,  from  which  stretch  out 
the  free  steppes ;  across  the  hmitless  expanse  of  which 
the  bold  Cossack  gallops,  singing  the  slow  and  dole- 
ful songs  of  the  ancient  Cossack  freedom,  and  the 
young  Cossack  maiden,  wandering  along  the  winding 
paths  among  the  liigh  stalks  of  golden  rye,  awaits  her 
lover,  I  was  born  and  brought  up. 

In  my  veins  flowed  the  blood  of  people  whose  entire 
social,  political,  and  religious  philosophy  can  be  best 
summed  up  in  the  words  of  the  Don  Cossack's 

"What  have  you  in  your  hand?" 

"A  gun." 

"For  what  were  you  given  the  gun?" 

"To  protect  from  external  and  internal  enemies  his 
Imperial  Majesty  the  Emperor  and  Autocrat  of  All 
the  Russias." 

"What  reward  will  you  get  for  it?" 

"The  kingdom  of  heaven." 

In  that  lies  all  of  the  philosophy  and  religion  of  the 
Don  Cossack.  As  a  result,  the  only  people  in  the 
world  that  he  regards  as  wholly  indispensable  are  the 
officers  of  the  army  and  the  priests,  the  former  be- 
cause they  teach  him  how  to  use  the  rifle,  the  latter 
because  they  are  supposed  to  bring  down  God's  bless- 
ing on  his  head  for  his  proficiency  in  warfare. 
Beyond  these  he  knows  nobody  and  cares  to  know 

In  the  Cossack's  estimation,  a  king  is  a  veritable 
god  on  earth,  although  he  is  no  more  than  a  Cossack, 


after  all.  To  him  the  czar  is  the  first  man  in  the 
world,  and  therefore  must  be  a  Don  Cossack,  since 
there  is  no  higher  being  than  a  Don  Cossack.  Tiy 
to  prove  to  him  that  Nicholas  is  a  "Great  Russian"; 
you  will  find  that  it  is  of  no  avail.  If  you  are 
audacious  enough  to  tell  the  Cossack  that  the  number 
of  drops  of  Russian  blood  that  Nicholas  has  in  his 
veins  does  not  amount  to  more  than  the  number  of 
hairs  on  your  palms,  he  will  shoot  you  dead  if  he  has 
a  gun  at  hand;  if  he  has  a  stick,  he  will  kill  you  with 
it;  and  if  he  is  empty-handed,  he  will  throw  himself 
upon  you  and  strangle  you  with  his  strong,  callous 

In  making  these  statements  I  refer,  of  course,  only 
to  the  masses,  from  which  used  to  be  recruited  the  de- 
fenders of  the  czar's  throne  against  its  internal 
enemies,  who  were  known  to  the  Cossack  under  two 
names,  revolutionaries  and  Zidi  (Jews). 

Such  was  the  atmosphere  in  which  I  was  born.  All 
my  male  ancestors  died  fighting  for  the  czar,  and  all 
my  family  have  devoted  their  lives  to  religion.  My 
maternal  grandmother,  from  the  age  of  twenty  to 
ninety,  made  her  livelihood  by  planting  potatoes  and 
wheat  with  her  own  hands,  in  fasting  and  prayers. 
During  her  latter  years  she  reached  such  a  physical 
and  spiritual  condition  that  she  became  clairvoyant. 
Of  this  I  will  give  you  an  illustration. 

Four  years  before  the  great  catastrophe  of  my  life 
— that  is  to  say,  four  years  before  I  was  unfrocked — 
I  paid  a  visit  to  tliis  dear  old  grandmother.     She  was 


in  her  bed,  and  I  greeted  her.  She  looked  at  me  and 

"Who  has  come?" 

"Grandmother,"  I  said,  "is  it  possible  that  you  do 
not  recognize  me?  This  is  yom*  grandson,  the  Monk 

"No,  I  do  not  see  a  monk.  I  see  a  worldly  man  in 
civilian  dress  and  with  short  hair,"  she  replied. 

I  approached  very  close  to  her  and  said:  "Grand- 
mother, look.  I  have  long  hair  and  I  wear  the  cowl. 
And  see,  here  is  my  cross ;  look  at  my  cassock." 

She  gazed  at  me  and  said:  "No,  no;  I  see  only  a 
man  of  the  world." 

I  left  her  with  a  terrible  feeling  of  oppression,  for 
this  was  four  years  before  I  renounced  the  church,  and 
I  had  not  the  slightest  thought  in  my  mind  that  such  a 
thing  could  happen. 

My  father  and  mother  knew  nothing  outside  of 
religion.  It  filled  all  their  lives.  My  father  was  one 
of  the  deacons  of  the  church.  He  was  a  very  intelli- 
gent man  but  his  brain  was  greatly  overcharged  with 
religious  matters.  Forty-seven  years  he  served  the 
same  church,  and  during  those  years  virtually  all  day 
long  he  was  in  the  church  singing  halleluiahs  to  God. 
This  year,  at  the  age  of  seventy-two,  my  father  has 
been  pensioned  by  the  church  for  his  forty-eight  years 
of  service.  He  is  a  well-read  man,  with  a  deep  knowl- 
edge of  natural  history  and  astronomy,  but  no  reading 
of  scientific  books  could  ever  change  his  religious  con- 
victions.    He  has  gone  through  life  in  poverty,  but 


has  educated  eight  children.  The  only  consolation 
he  has  found  for  carrying  this  burden  has  been  in  till- 
ing the  soil  and  in  constant  prayers  for  divine  help. 
His  income,  I  remember,  used  to  be  thirteen  rubles, 
or  six  dollars,  a  month  on  which  to  support  a  family 
of  ten. 

We  lived  in  extreme  poverty,  and  as  famine  years 
are  very  frequent  in  Russia,  our  food  often  consisted 
of  bread  and  water  only,  and  even  for  this  we  had  to 
struggle.  On  one  occasion  we  were  sitting  together 
at  table,  father  and  mother  and  all  the  children  in 
a  semicircle,  eating  crusts  and  what  we  called  "soup," 
which  was  made  of  water  and  noodles.  My  mother 
suddenly  arose  and  began  to  weep,  saying,  "O  God! 
how  am  I  going  to  feed  all  these  children?"  and  then 

My  family  consisted  originally  of  thirteen  members, 
five  of  whom  died  in  early  childhood,  no  doubt  as  a 
result  of  under-nourishment.  All  the  children  were 
normal.  When  one  little  sister  was  a  baby,  my  father 
being  ill,  my  mother  had  to  take  the  children  to  school, 
so  that  there  was  no  one  to  feed  the  little  one.  When 
my  mother  returned,  the  child  was  dead. 

I  regard  it  as  a  miracle  that  my  parents  were  able 
to  give  all  their  childi-en  a  good  education,  because  at 
that  time  there  were  no  free  public  schools,  and,  how- 
ever little  my  father  had  to  pay,  his  whole  property 
consisted  of  little  more  than  a  pig,  a  cow,  and  a  few 
chickens.  Of  eight  children,  six  received  a  higher 
education   and   two   an   ordinary   school   education. 


Two  of  my  sisters  are  school-teachers;  two  brothers 
are  priests;  two  are  officers  in  the  army,  one  on  the 
Caucasian  front  and  the  other  on  the  Riga  front ;  one 
brother  teaches  in  a  high  school;  and  I  am  here.  My 
mother  is  seventy.  My  father  still  prays  for  me,  and 
my  mother  prays  and  weeps  for  me,  and  thanks  God 
that  at  last  I  have  found  a  peaceful  harbor  in 

Between  the  ages  of  six  and  twenty-five  I  was 
under  the  severest  religious  discipline.  For  nineteen 
years  I  had  inculcated  in  my  mind  love  for  God,  love 
for  the  czar  as  the  vicegerent  of  God,  and  the  complete 
renunciation  of  earthly  life  and  ties.  It  was  with  me 
as  with  the  Chinese  in  the  early  days — to  produce  the 
misshapen  court  dwarfs  they  would  place  a  new- 
bom  child  in  a  bottle,  which,  as  the  child  grew, 
exerted  a  pressure  upon  the  brain  and  the  body. 
There  was  a  dwarfing  of  the  mental  faculties  in  virtu- 
ally every  other  direction  in  order  that  they  might  be 
overdeveloped  in  one. 

During  the  period  prior  to  my  complete  submission 
I  was  often  punished  and  beaten  without  mercy.  In 
school  the  teacher  explained  to  us  one  day  the  creation 
of  the  world,  illustrating  by  means  of  soapy  water  and 
a  straw.     He  blew  the  bubble  and  said : 

"See,  boys;  thus  the  Great  Master  created  the 
world."  He  blew  another  bubble,  and  there  was  the 
sun;  still  another  for  the  moon;  and  so  on.  I  got  up 
and  said  to  the  teacher: 

"Well,  he  must  have  blown  big  bubbles," 

Aged  20 


This  was  considered  blasphemous,  and  my  punish- 
ment consisted  in  kneeHng  for  fifteen  hours  with  my 
bare  knees  on  dried  beans,  until  they  went  into  the 
sensitive  flesh,  causing  excruciating  pain. 

On  another  occasion  the  priest  (all  the  teachers 
were  priests)  said  that  the  world  was  created  about 
seven  thousand  years  ago,  and  I  exclaimed : 

"Oh,  then  God  must  be  really  a  very  old,  old  man." 

For  this  little  remark  I  was  beaten  and  sent  home, 
and  it  was  only  after  my  father  also  had  severely  pun- 
ished me  that  I  was  permitted  to  return. 

All  the  other  boys  could  read  and  write,  but  at  five 
and  a  half  years  I  could  not  write  a  single  letter  of  the 
alphabet.  At  Christmas  time,  when  the  children  were 
sent  home  for  the  holidays,  the  teacher  took  a  book 
containing  a  little  lecture  on  the  city  and  said,  "Take 
a  note-book  and  copy  this  article  describing  a  city." 
My  brother  gave  me  several  little  note-books,  some 
good  ink,  a  new  pen,  and  a  penholder,  and  I  believed 
that  just  because  of  this  excellent  material  I  would 
be  able  to  copy  the  article  better  than  any  one  else, 
even  though  I  could  not  write  a  single  letter.  Ener- 
getically I  set  to  work,  and  for  two  weeks  of  my  vaca- 
tion I  tried  to  write.  I  saw  the  word  "city,"  but  not 
knowing  how  to  write,  I  made  little  marks.  Where 
there  was  a  line,  I  made  a  line,  copying  everything 
with  great  exactness.  In  order  that  no  one  might  see 
my  masterpiece,  I  did  it  secretly.  There  were  draw- 
ings of  a  church,  a  little  house,  and  other  objects,  and 
I  said  to  myself,  "How  am  I  going  to  copy  these 

12        THE  MAD  MONK  OF  RUSSIA 

drawings?"  I  made  little  squares  and  lines,  which  to 
me  signified  a  picture.  'When  I  returned  to  school, 
all  the  pupils  brought  to  the  teacher  the  lessons  that 
they  had  done  during  the  holidays.  I  also  presented 
my  work,  believing  that,  as  my  note-book  was  better 
than  the  note-books  of  the  others,  the  teacher  would 
proclaim  me  the  best  pupil  in  the  class.  He  looked 
at  me  in  amazement,  then  said:  "Bring  me  the  little 
school-bag."  He  put  the  note-book  in  the  bag  and 
the  string  of  the  bag  about  my  neck  and  said:  "You 
are  an  idiot.     Go  home,  and  return  in  a  year." 

In  a  year  I  did  return,  and  became  the  best  pupil  in 
the  class. 

When  I  was  ten  years  of  age  I  was  taken  from  the 
village  school  to  the  city.  ^ly  little  heart  told  me 
that  I  was  going  into  another  life,  and  on  the  road 
from  the  village  to  the  city,  on  several  occasions  when 
the  horses  slowed  up,  I  jumped  from  the  wagon  and 
kissed  the  trees  and  flowers  and  even  the  earth  of  the 
country-side,  weeping  bitterly.  There  were  to  be  no 
green  fields,  no  flowers,  no  singing  birds  any  more, 
and  I  was  to  find  that  everything  I  had  thought  sa- 
cred in  the  village  was  laughed  at  in  the  city. 

As  we  approached  the  town, — it  was  Novo  Tcher- 
kask,  capital  of  the  district  of  the  Don, — my  brother, 
who  had  alreadj^  seen  cities  and  wanted  to  play  a  joke 
upon  me,  said : 

"When  we  enter  the  town  you  will  see  a  woman 
made  out  of  stone.  When  you  see  this  woman  you 
must  kneel  down  and  kiss  her." 


It  was  dark  when  we  arrived.     My  brother  said: 

"Get  out  of  the  wagon.  There  stands  the  stone 

Such  was  my  excitement,  my  credulity,  imagina- 
tion, and  the  nerve  tension  under  which  I  was  that, 
although  it  was  dark  and  there  was  no  stone  woman, 
I  actually  knelt  and  kissed  the  empty  space,  believing 
I  saw  this  woman.  It  was  only  after  my  brother 
shook  me  that  I  realized  the  joke. 

It  was  at  that  period,  finding  no  sympathizers 
among  the  little  city  children,  that  I  encountered 
experiences  which  for  the  first  time  tended  to  sow  in 
me  the  seeds  of  protest. 

It  is  true  that  from  a  very  tender  age  the  falsity 
of  life  had  begun  to  agitate  my  soul  and  prompt  it, 
with  pain  and  disturbance,  to  seek  the  truth.  Of  the 
many  instances  of  my  suffering  from  human  injustice 
I  shall  cite  here  only  two.  The  instances  I  speak  of 
are  mentioned  in  a  book  written  about  me  in  Russia, 
from  wliich  I  quote  the  following : 

Deacon  Michael  [my  father]  owned  no  property  to  speak 
of,  except  ten  children,  and  was  of  the  opinion  that  one  could 
tell  a  priest  even  though  he  were  clad  in  rags.  And  this 
being  the  case,  he  saw  nothing  wrong  in  his  son  wearing  a 
coat  made  for  some  one  else  and  boots  "with  open  mouths." 
The  son's  schoolmates  and  teachers,  however,  held  a  different 
opinion  on  the  subject.  Sergius  [that  is,  myself],  with  his 
extraordinarily  long  coat,  was  regarded  by  them  as  the  most 
fitting  target  for  jokes  and  ridicule.  One  of  the  teachers 
delighted  in  calling  Sergius  to  his  dais  and  saying  to  him: 
"Well,  let 's  see  your  back."     Sergius  turned.     "And  now 

14        THE  MAD  MONK  OF  RUSSIA 

turn  your  side  toward  me."  The  boy,  ready  to  burst  into 
tears,  obeyed.  Laughter,  now  suppressed,  now  hilarious, 
was  heard  in  the  class-room.  The  teacher  continued  with  an 
earnest  mien,  "Now  face  me."  And  with  feigned  gravity  he 
would  survey  the  low  waist  of  the  coat  reaching  to  the  boy's 
ankles,  his  torn  trousers,  his  patched  shoes,  and  the  whole 
sorrowful  appearance  of  the  persecuted  child.  After  hav- 
ing had  his  full  measure  of  fun,  the  teacher  would  allow  Ser- 
gius,  accompanied  by  the  laughter  of  the  whole  class,  to 
return  to  his  seat. 

The  second  ease  is  related  in  the  book  as  follows : 

The  term  was  almost  over,  and  the  time  to  leave  school 
for  the  vacation  had  come.     For  the  first  time  in  his  life 
Sergius  purchased  a  ticket  of  the  fourth  class  and  embarked 
on  a  homeward-bound  steamer,  which  seemed  to  him  like  one 
of  the  wonders  of  the  Arabian  Nights.     Despite  his  unusu- 
ally long  coat  and  badly  worn  trousers,  he  kept  on  running 
from  one  deck  to  the  other,  as  though  wishing  to  learn  all 
about   the  wonderful   steel   creature.     The   firemen  handled 
him  roughly,  the  stewards  pushed  him  out  of  the  way,  but 
he  paid  not  the  least  attention  to  them.     He  peered  into 
the  engine  compartment,  he  visited  the  saloons  of  the  first 
and    second    classes.     The    staterooms,    however,    attracted 
most  of  his   attention.     They  seemed  so  comfortable;  they 
were  furnished  with  portieres,  sofas,  tables,  just  like  a  well- 
appointed  house.     Before  Sergius  knew  it,  he  bumped  into 
the  owner  of  the  steamer,  one  Chumakov,  a  retired  general 
who  had  four  concubines  and  a  capital  of  two  million  rubles. 
"Your  ticket !"  he  demanded  sternly.     "My  brother  has  it," 
replied  Sergius.     "I  know  you  cheats;  you  can't  fool  me! 
Come  on,  let 's  see  where  your  brother  is."     And  seizing  Ser- 
gius by  the  ear  he  began  to  drag  him  about  the  steamer.     As 
bad  luck  would  have  it,  the  brother  could  not  be  found.     A 
strong  wind  was  blowing,  and  he  had  sought  shelter  some- 


where.  Three  times,  exposed  to  everybody's  ridicule,  Sergius 
was  dragged  from  deck  to  deck  until  he  finally  located  his 
brother.  The  ship-owner  examined  the  tickets,  found  that 
everything  was  in  order,  and  majestically  returned  to  his 
state-room.  And  the  price  of  the  ticket  was  only  sixty-five 
kopecks !" 

It  is  possible  that  from  then  on  the  fire  of  protest 
against  falsity  and  injustice  in  every  possible  form 
began  to  consume  my  soul.  This  fire  turned  into  an 
all-consuming  conflagration  when  I  reached  the  age 
of  twenty.  Its  flames  are  still  scorching  me,  and  to 
this  day  the  fire  is  not  burned  out. 

One  other  anecdote  I  will  relate.  Of  my  teacher 
I  once  inquired,  "God  is  spirit.  How,  then,  could 
he  speak  from  heaven  to  Christ  when  he  was  baptized 
in  the  Jordan?" 

The  teacher  grasped  me  by  the  nape  of  the  neck 
and  dragged  me  to  the  little  "school  prison"  where 
boys  were  placed  for  punishment.  With  his  knee  he 
kicked  me  in  the  back  so  that  I  fell  across  the  wall, 
and  said,  "Here  you  will  find  out  how  God  spoke 
from  heaven  to  Christ  when  he  was  baptized  in  the 
Jordan."  Then  he  tried  to  force  me  to  write  a  letter 
to  my  father,  saying  that  I  had  become  a  blasphemous 
little  brigand. 

By  such  means  a  religious  education  was  incul- 
cated in  me.  After  the  age  of  fifteen  I  looked  not 
only  upon  the  czar  as  the  agent  of  God,  but  also  upon 
every  monk,  priest,  or  bishop.  Every  word  that  they 
spoke  was  for  me  the  law  that  in  no  circumstances 

16        THE  MAD  MONK  OF  RUSSIA 

could  I  transgress.  At  the  age  of  sixteen  or  seven- 
teen my  faith  was  like  a  rock  that  you  could  neither 
move,  crush,  nor  break. 

It  was  at  this  time  that  I  entered  the  secondary  the- 
ological seminary  of  Novo  Tcherkask.  Here  the 
same  system  prevailed  as  in  the  secular  schools,  but  the 
pupils,  by  all  sorts  of  strategy,  succeeded  in  going 
their  own  way,  the  majority  hving  immoral  lives, 
mentally  as  well  as  physically.  The  teachers  never 
approached  these  boys  in  a  personal  way.  They  had 
only  one  thought  in  mind — how  to  force  them  to  obey 
the  rules  and  regulations  of  the  school.  I  was  exas- 
perated when  I  saw  how  differently  my  classmates 
lived  from  the  way  they  were  taught,  and  I  decided 
to  become  a  leader  among  them,  to  gain  an  ascendancy 
over  them.  In  short,  I  energetically  protested 
against  the  unbecoming  behavior  of  my  classmates 
and  teachers,  and  this  resulted  in  my  being  generally 

What  annoyed  my  classmates  most  was  my  biting 
tongue  and  the  remarks  that  I  directed  at  those  of 
them  who  considered  it  their  duty  as  grown  young 
men  to  drink,  gamble,  use  profane  language,  and 
visit  houses  of  ill  repute. 

I  attacked  these  habits  by  ridicule.  Those  of  my 
companions  who  visited  houses  of  ill  repute  returned, 
as  a  rule,  late  at  night.  Since  the  gates  were  locked, 
they  were  obliged  to  crawl  in  underneath  on  their 
stomachs.  I  mimicked  them  in  these  exploits,  and  as 
a  result  of  these  illustrated  sermons,  the  young  men 


who  became  targets  of  my  ridicule  would  usually 
abstain  from  sinning  altogether,  or  at  least  make  an 
end  of  bragging  of  it.  In  a  similar  way  I  was  a  veri- 
table pest  for  those  of  my  schoolmates  who  used  to 
gamble,  or  steal  sugar,  tea,  shoes,  and  the  clothing  of 
their  comrades. 

Prompted  by  some  mysterious  force,  I  began  also 
to  treat  my  teachers  in  a  rather  audacious  manner. 
Once  I  carried  my  inclination  to  express  my  opinions 
so  far  that  I  was  all  but  expelled  from  the  seminary. 

Our  Inspector  had  gone  to  Petrograd  to  see  the 
officials  of  the  Holy  Synod,  most  probably  with  the 
object  of  obtaining  an  increase  of  salary.  On  his 
return  he  assembled  us  all  and,  after  giving  us  a  lesson 
in  religion,  delivered  himself  somewhat  as  follows: 

"Well,  children,  I  have  been  to  Petrograd.  I  have 
seen  my  superiors,  the  officials  of  the  Holy  Synod! 
Oh,  how  they  deport  themselves!  How  the  minor 
officials  respect  their  elders!  How  they  bow  before 
their  superiors,  and  how  obedient  they  are  to  them! 
And  what  do  we  see  here  among  ourselves?  A  man 
of  no  importance,  a  nonentity,  sets  himself  up — above 
whom,  pray?  His  teachers,  his  inspectors,  and  even 
the  rector." 

I  do  not  know  how  long  this  lecture  would  have 
continued  to  flow  from  the  honey-sweet  lips  of  our 
inspector ;  but  I  could  bear  it  no  longer,  and  came  out 
with  my  protest. 

"Audrey  Alexandrovitch,  you  are  teaching  us  to 
be  sycophants." 

18         THE  MAD  MONK  OF  RUSSIA 

"What 's  that?    What  do  you  say,  Trufanoff  ?" 
"I  said  you  were  teaching  us  to  be  sycophants." 
The  inspector  hurled  the  class- journal  down  on  the 
table  and  rushed  out  of  the  room. 

Three  days  later  a  consultation  of  the  teachers  was 
called  to  consider  my  case.  The  majority  of  them 
expressed  themselves  in  favor  of  expelling  me  from 
the  seminary.  Wliat  is  more,  they  suggested  that, 
although  I  was  under  age  I  should  be  forced  to  join 
the  army.  It  was  nothing  short  of  a  miracle  that 
saved  me  from  this  heavy  punishment.  A  few  of  the 
teachers  took  my  part.  They  pointed  out  that  it 
would  be  cruel  to  mete  out  such  a  punishment  to  a 
mere  "light-minded"  boy.  In  the  end  I  was  allowed 
to  remain. 



I  WAS  graduated  from  the  seminary  in  1900,  at  the 
age  of  twenty.  My  graduation  gave  me  the  right 
to  be  ordained  to  the  priesthood.  Life  then  opened 
its  gates  before  me  and  showed  me  its  roads.  I  asked 
myself,  "Which  road  shall  I  choose?"  I  wished  to 
work  hard,  and  I  desired  also  to  remain  alone  all  my 
life,  without  a  family,  in  order  to  be  free  like  an  eagle, 
whose  flight  is  hindered  by  nothing. 

To  achieve  this  aim  it  was  necessary  for  me  to  be- 
come a  monk,  to  estrange  myself  from  the  world,  and 
to  burn  my  ships  behind  me. 

However,  one  cannot  become  a  monk  in  Russia  at 
the  age  of  twenty,  and  therefore  I  went  to  Petrograd 
to  continue  my  studies  at  the  academy  of  divinity. 
My  only  aim  in  doing  this  was  to  fill  in  the  time  until 
I  reached  the  legitimate  age  for  entering  a  monastery 
and  beginning  my  true  life. 

In  order  to  harden  my  spirit,  at  the  academy,  I  sub- 
jected myself  to  great  privations.  On  one  occasion 
I  fasted  three  days,  refusing  even  bread  and  water, 
and  for  two  months  I  slept  neither  night  nor  day, 
spending  the  time  in  continuous  prayers.  Of  course 
these  privations  reacted  detrimentally  on  my  body 


20        THE  MAD  MONK  OF  RUSSIA 

and  also  on  my  mind;  so  that,  emaciated  physically 
and  exalted  spritually,  I  saw  visions.  I  saw  Christ. 
I  saw  evil  spirits  that  grasped  me  by  the  hair  and 
dragged  me,  shouting:  "You  shall  not  escape  from 
us!  You  shall  not  escape  from  us!"  And  I  saw 
monsters,  with  immense  iron  forks,  that  screamed: 
"You  are  ours !  You  are  ours !"  In  short,  I  brought 
myself  to  the  point  of  mental  and  physical  collapse. 
But  my  body  had  great  recuperative  powers,  and  I 
regained  my  strength  and  poise. 

To  show  that  this  discipline  of  mine  was  not  excep- 
tional, I  can  cite  the  case  of  another  student  who  was 
preparing  himself  for  the  monastic  life.  Standing 
before  a  candle  one  night  and  meditating  on  the  words 
of  the  Bible,  "If  thy  right  eye  offend  thee,"  he  took 
the  candle  and  burned  an  eye  out.  Since  then  he  has 
become  a  bishop. 

At  the  age  of  twenty-three,  while  a  student  of  the 
third  year  at  the  academy,  I  finally  reached  my  goal. 
I  forsook  the  lay  world  and  took  the  habit.  My  for- 
mer name,  Sergius,  was  changed  to  Iliodor. 

My  decision  to  become  a  monk  had  met  with  great 
opposition,  not  only  from  my  classmates,  but  also  from 
my  parents.  I  myself  was  not  without  misgivings. 
There  was  a  man  named  Mitia  the  Blissful,  whom 
every  one  considered  a  clairvoyant,  and  about  whom 
I  shall  have  more  to  say  later  in  this  book.  I  be- 
lieved in  his  divinity  and  called  upon  him  to  ask  his 
benediction.  Mitia  told  me  not  to  become  a  monk, 
"because,"  he  said,  "if  you  do,  you  will  marry  just  the 


same.  This  has  been  revealed  to  me  by  God."  Like 
everyone  else,  I  beheved  in  Mitia,  but  notwithstanding 
this  I  persisted  in  my  determination.  I  may  add 
here,  however,  that  during  my  life  as  a  monk,  which 
lasted  ten  years,  the  prophecy  of  Mitia  the  Blissful 
hung  over  my  head  Hke  the  sword  of  Damocles,  and 
stimulated  my  efforts  to  keep  body  and  soul  as  pure 
as  possible,  in  order  that  this  prophecy  of  his  would 
not  come  true. 

When  ordained  to  monasticism,  I  vowed  to  shun 
women,  to  amass  no  riches,  and  to  obey  my  superiors. 
Obedience  is  considered  higher  and  more  important 
than  fasting  and  prayers.  During  the  entire  period 
of  my  monastic  life  I  kept  the  first  two  vows  in  the 
most  exacting  manner,  and  this  gave  me  the  spiritual 
strength  with  which  I  used  to  influence  all  those  who 
came  into  contact  with  me.  Knowing  not  women,  I 
was  able  to  subjugate  spiritually  both  men  and 
women.  I  was  entirely  unmercenary,  and  this  dis- 
armed even  my  worst  enemies.  As  for  the  third  vow, 
that  of  obedience,  I  kept  that  also,  but  not  in  a  way 
that  pleased  my  superiors.  I  kept  it  in  my  own  way. 
I  obeyed  those  who  followed  in  God's  footsteps;  for 
my  striving  was  to  serve  not  human  beings,  but  God 
and  His  truth.  I  recognized  no  human  authorities. 
The  reader  will  see,  as  my  story  unfolds,  what  were 
the  results  of  this  obedience. 

In  June,  1905,  I  was  graduated  from  the  academy 
with  honors.  Now  that  I  was  a  monk,  it  was  no 
longer  proper  for  me  to  go  home  to  my  parents  on  the 

22         THE  MAD  MONK  OF  RUSSIA 

Don  River.  I  therefore  spent  the  summer  at  the 
Alexandro  Nevskaia  Lavra,  the  greatest  monastery 
in  Russia,  to  which  the  academy  is  attached.  I  was 
waiting  for  an  appointment  that  was  not  to  be  settled 
definitely  before  the  early  part  of  October. 

Meanwhile  I  preached  every  evening  in  the  public 
squares  and  the  lodging-houses  of  the  poor.  These 
services  had  come  into  vogue  in  the  last  two  years  of 
my  student  life  in  Petrograd.  The  movement  had 
been  fostered  by  an  informal  group  of  divinity  stu- 
dents to  which  I  belonged,  and  Father  Gapon,  who 
later  became  famous,  was  the  spokesman.  Father 
Gapon  was  one  year  ahead  of  me  in  his  studies  at  the 
academy.  Because  of  a  lack  of  room  in  the  dormi- 
tory, he  was  installed  at  the  hospital  at  a  time  when, 
in  my  junior  year,  I  had  contracted  a  severe  cold  in 
the  intestines  and  was  compelled  to  lie  in  the  hospital 
for  nearly  eight  weeks.  My  acquaintance  with 
Gapon  there  ripened  into  friendship. 

In  his  conversations  with  me  at  the  hospital  Father 
Gapon  frequently  emphasized  the  need  of  the  church 
becoming  acquainted  with  the  problems  of  the  masses. 
He  began  going  among  the  people  as  a  missionary, 
and  with  a  number  of  other  students  I  followed  in  his 
footsteps,  though  only  to  a  certain  point.  On  one  oc- 
casion Gapon  invited  me  to  go  with  him  to  see  some 
friends  who,  he  said,  were  "worth  while."  He  spoke 
in  a  mysterious  way  about  these  friends  and  what  they 
were  planning  to  do  for  the  fatherland ;  but  as  I  had 




9  o 
a.  ^- 







just  taken  the  habit,  I  thought  it  out  of  keeping  for 
me  to  go  about  visiting  Gapon's  lay  friends,  and  there- 
fore dechned  his  invitation.  Gapon's  friendship  for 
me  cooled  perceptibly  after  that.  He  left  the  acad- 
emy in  the  spring  of  1904,  and  it  was  not  for  some  tune 
after  that  I  discovered  the  equivocal  nature  of  the 

Thus  I  spent  the  summer  of  1905  largely  in  mission- 
ary work  among  the  poor  of  Petrograd.  In  the  mar- 
ket-places I  addressed  the  working-people,  and  I 
preached  in  the  lodging-houses  to  the  dregs  of  the 
under-world,  the  barefoot  brigade  of  beggars,  thieves, 
and  degenerates.  I  made  it  part  of  my  duty  to  visit 
the  houses  of  the  rich  and  make  collections  for  these 
poor  outcasts  of  humanity,  but  the  work  was  discour- 
aging. For  example,  one  day  some  poor  fellows  came 
to  me,  begging  for  shoes.  I  myself  went  and  bought 
for  each  one  a  pair  of  good  shoes.  The  next  day  these 
same  tramps  came  to  me  again  barefooted. 

"I  gave  you  all  shoes.  What  has  become  of  them?" 
I  asked. 

"You  must  have  seen  shoes  in  a  dream:  we  never 
received  any  shoes.  You  do  not  understand  our  situ- 
ation at  all,"  they  replied.  Incidents  like  this  made 
me  feel  that  my  activities  were  hopeless. 

Nevertheless,  these  experiences  set  me  thinking. 
One  evening  as  I  was  returning  to  the  monastery  from 
one  of  the  lodging-house  services  I  walked  into  a 
group  of  drunken  workmen  who  were  standing  there 

26        THE  MAD  MONK  OF  RUSSIA 

brawling  among  themselves.  One  of  the  workmen 
blocked  my  way  and,  shaking  his  finger  in  my  face, 
began  to  shout  hoarsely : 

"We  will  get  you.  We  will  get  all  of  you  priests. 
We  will  cut  open  your  bellies  like  this — "  and  he  made 
a  graphic  gesture  with  his  hands.  "You  have  grown 
fat.  There  is  gold  in  your  churches.  We  w^ill  get 
this  gold  and  buy  sweets  for  our  babies  with  it  and  real 
vodka,  not  the  cheap  trash  they  sell  us  now." 

The  intense  hatred  in  the  man's  eyes  paralyzed  me 
for  the  moment.  I  seemed  incapable  of  motion.  I 
stood  there  gazing  at  his  drawn  face,  his  disheveled 
hair,  and  distended  nostrils.  Then  the  precariousness 
of  my  position  dawned  on  me.  I  was  in  one  of  the 
most  dangerous  alleys  in  Petrogi-ad.  I  began  to 
speak  to  the  men.  I  showed  them  that  I  had  nothing 
to  defend  myself  with,  and  told  them  that  as  a  monk 
I  was  forbidden  to  defend  myself  even  with  my  hands. 
My  words  had  the  desired  effect.  One  of  the  men 
less  drunk  than  the  rest  pulled  my  assailant  aside. 

"Go  on,  father,"  he  said.  "No  harm  will  be  done  to 

As  a  student  of  divinity  I  had  of  course  shared  the 
opinion  of  my  superiors  that  all  these  mutinies  of  the 
people  were  groundless ;  that  they  were  stirred  up  by 
revolutionaries,  who  made  dupes  of  the  masses.  I 
heartily  concurred  with  the  Government  in  its  efforts 
to  weed  out  insubordination  to  autocracy.  This  inci- 
dent, however,  caused  me  to  reflect  upon  the  correct- 
ness of  my  views.     Men  without  deep  and  abiding 


grievances,  I  mused,  could  never  be  consumed  with 
such  fierce  hatred.  I  began  to  reflect  more  deeply 
about  the  state  of  my  country.  I  decided  to  find  out 
for  myself  just  how  much  ground  there  was  for  dis- 
content in  Russia.  I  took  off  my  habit,  dressed  like 
a  common  laborer,  and  went  once  more  to  the  haunts 
of  poverty,  to  the  cheap  lodging-houses  of  the  under- 
world, this  time  incognito. 

Things  now  opened  themselves  up  to  me,  and  I  saw 
and  heard  so  much  that  I  spent  a  good  part  of  the 
summer  in  such  researches.  A  new  light  dawned 
before  my  eyes.  I  had  diagnosed  the  disease  my 
fatherland  was  suffering  from,  and  thought  I  had  a 
cure  for  it.  It  was  clear  that  things  were  radically 
wrong  in  Holy  Russia,  though  the  proper  persons  to 
right  the  wrongs,  I  felt,  were  not  the  revolutionists, 
but  the  clergy.  Russia  needed  a  revolution,  but  a 
revolution  led  in  the  name  of  God;  yes,  and  even  in 
the  name  of  the  czar — a  revolution  against  a  weak 
nobility,  a  brutal  police,  a  corrupt  court. 

Brooding  over  these  problems,  I  secluded  myself 
from  people.  I  ate  little  and  became  pale  and  hag- 
gard. I  prayed  to  God  to  enlighten  me,  to  point  out 
to  me  the  road  to  happiness  and  prosperity  for  the 
masses  of  Russia.  For  several  evenings  in  succession 
I  shut  myself  up  in  my  cell,  lighted  candles  before  the 
ikons  in  the  corner,  and  held  services  before  an  impro- 
vised altar.  I  prayed  and  sang  aloud,  and  all  so 
unconsciously  that  one  evening,  when  I  had  concluded 
the  service  and  turned  about,  I  was  amazed  to  see 

28        THE  MAD  MONK  OF  RUSSIA 

Archimandrite  Theophanes,  the  inspector  of  the  acad- 
emy, sitting  in  the  far  corner  of  my  cell.  He  had 
slipped  in  without  my  knowing  it. 

The  inspector  laid  his  hand  upon  my  shoulder.  I 
was  his  favorite  pupil,  his  protege.  He  had  picked 
me  out  and  persistently  conducted  me  toward  the  ways 
of  light,  seeing  in  me  a  future  pillar  of  Orthodoxy. 
Theophanes  was  grieved. 

"Iliodor,'  he  said,  "you  are  ill.  I  have  been  observ- 
ing you  for  some  time.  You  have  been  applying 
yourself  to  the  service  of  the  Lord  and  of  the  czar  too 
zealously.  You  must  beware  of  your  health.  Your 
nerves  are  torn  to  fragments.  You  need  a  rest.  To- 
morrow I  shall  see  Archimandrite  Michael  of  the 
Sergieva  Pustin  Monastery.  I  shall  ask  him  if  he 
cannot  receive  you  for  a  few  weeks  until  you  recover 
your  health." 

Two  days  later  I  received  an  invitation  from  Arch- 
imandrite Michael,  asking  me  to  come  and  stay  with 
him  as  long  as  I  liked. 

The  Sergieva  Pustin  Monastery  lies  twenty  miles 
distant  from  Petrograd  and  is  the  most  aristocratic 
monastery  in  Russia.  Within  its  grounds  lie  buried 
innumerable  grand  dukes,  ministers,  and  other  exalted 
personages,  while  bordering  on  these  grounds  is  the 
village  of  Strelna,  composed  almost  exclusively  of 
villas,  the  most  beautiful  and  luxurious  summer  homes 
to  be  found  anywhere  in  the  empire. 

Archimandrite  Michael  received  me  with  open 
arms.     He  gave  me  a  cell  next  to  his  own  quarters,  on 


the  ground  floor  of  the  main  wing  of  the  monastery. 
He  called  in  his  first  deacon,  Avraami,  a  monk  who, 
although  only  thirty-five  years  old,  had  a  wide  experi- 
ence with  churchmen,  nobles,  and  the  royalty  of  Rus- 
sia, and  assigned  him  as  my  guide  and  companion. 
Avraami  and  I  were  on  friendly  terms  from  the  first. 

Toward  evening  of  the  second  day  we  took  a  stroll 
through  the  monastery  grounds.  We  turned  toward 
Strelna,  and  walked  along  a  beautiful  lane.  Avraami 
chatted  readily  and  without  embarrassment  about  the 
villas  and  their  occupants. 

"The  lane  through  which  we  are  walking,"  he  said 
to  me,  "is  sometimes  facetiously  called  'Morganatic 
Lane,'  because  almost  all  its  houses  belong  to  the  mor- 
ganatic wives  and  mistresses  of  the  Russian  royalty." 
Then,  in  his  calm  voice  he  began  telling  me  monstrous 
tales  of  the  corruption  of  the  aristocracy — tales  that 
seemed  monstrous  to  me,  a  young  monk,  though  they 
were  of  course  mere  commonplaces  to  people  of  the 

That  night  I  slept  little.  I  sat  by  the  open  window 
of  my  cell,  looking  out  over  the  lovely  villas  of  the 
royal  mistresses.  I  thought  of  the  extravagances  of 
the  rich  and  the  misery  of  the  poor.  I  had  been 
taught  that  the  heart  of  the  czar  lies  in  the  hand  of 
God  and  that  the  eye  of  the  people  is  the  eye  of  God. 
I  could  not  beheve  that  the  divine  could  be  contra- 
dictory to  the  divine,  that  the  heart  of  the  czar  could 
contradict  the  eye  of  the  people,  which  is  the  eye  of 
God.     To  the  marrow  uf  my  bones  I  believed  that 

30        THE  MAD  MONK  OF  RUSSIA 

the  happiness  of  the  people  was  bound  up  with  the 
happiness  of  the  czar.  I  looked  upon  autocracy  as 
a  lovely  rose  spreading  its  beauty  and  perfume  over 
all  the  people.  Now  I  began  to  perceive  that  the 
attar  and  wonderful  perfume  of  the  rose  were  taken 
by  the  intermediaries  between  the  czar  and  the  people, 
that  the  people  got  only  the  thorns. 

In  the  autumn  I  was  appointed  professor  at  the 
Jaroslavl  Theological  Seminary  on  the  Volga.  In- 
spector Theophanes  brought  me  the  news  of  the  ap- 

"Gregory  Rasputin,"  he  said,  "has  aided  you 
greatly.  The  sage  is  very  much  taken  with  you. 
He  has  been  talking  about  you  in  high  places.  He 
will  be  of  great  help  to  you  in  the  future." 

The  story  of  my  acquaintance  with  Rasputin  I  shall 
defer  to  the  next  chapter,  but  as  I  shall  have  occasion 
to  mention  him  a  number  of  times  in  this,  I  wish 
briefly  to  define  the  nature  of  our  early  relations.  I, 
as  a  young  monk,  was  extremely  flattered  by  the 
attentions  of  one  whom  I  supposed  to  be  a  holy  man, 
and  it  may  be  that  Gregory's  friendship  for  me  was 
at  first  entirely  disinterested.  At  intervals  I  served 
as  his  amanuensis,  for  he  was  all  but  illiterate,  having 
learned  to  write  his  signature  only  after  the  age  of 
thirty.  As  my  reader  will  learn,  I  was  appointed  to 
give  him  some  preliminary  instruction  at  a  moment 
when  he  desired  to  become  a  priest.  As  time  went  on, 
and  his  enemies  increased  and  his  evil  exploits  began 
to  leak  out,  he  looked  about  for  supporters  among 


people  of  influence  who  could  take  his  side  both  with 
the  czar  and  the  people.  Then,  owing  to  the  popular- 
ity and  power  I  had  achieved  among  the  masses,  Greg- 
ory turned  to  me  with  redoubled  affection,  as  I  sup- 
posed it  to  be,  and  held  me  closer  and  closer  as  the 
most  valuable  of  his  allies;  and  in  order  to  bind  me 
to  him  and  add  to  the  significance  of  my  support,  he 
pushed  me  forward  and  furthered  my  career  in  every 
possible  way. 

Now  at  the  very  outset  of  my  career,  with  Rasputin 
behind  me,  I  found  myself  in  the  center  of  all  the  most 
powerful  forces  in  Russia.  As  a  favorite  of  The- 
ophanes  and  a  marked  man  among  the  young  grad- 
uates of  the  academy,  I  saw  myself  a  chosen  leader 
in  the  reaction,  a  spokesman  of  Orthodoxy  and  the 
czar,  and  I  was  accepted  as  such.  I  was  introduced 
to  society  and  placed  on  terms  of  friendship  with 
counts,  princes,  and  other  dignitaries.  At  the  end 
of  a  year,  therefore,  especially  as  I  found  teaching 
somewhat  uncongenial,  I  resigned  my  professorship 
and  returned  to  Petrograd. 

But  no  sooner  had  I  been  received  into  these  circles 
than  I  became  aware  of  the  falsity,  duplicity,  hypoc- 
risy, and  greed  that  they  harbored.  I  began  almost 
at  once  a  struggle  with  the  nobility,  the  ministers,  the 
court  clique,  and  even  the  Holy  Synod,  which  only 
ended  with  my  exile  from  the  country,  and  soon  led 
me  to  leave  the  capital  and  "go  to  the  people." 

This  struggle  began  with  my  visit  to  the  czar's 
friend.  General  Eugene  Bogdanovitch,  at  Petrograd. 

32        THE  MAD  MONK  OF  RUSSIA 

The  visit  was  arranged  with  the  express  object  of 
introducing  me  to  society.  Bogdanovitch  invited  to 
his  residence  the  entire  aristocracy  of  Petrograd  in 
order  to  acquaint  them  with  the  newly  risen  star  of 
the  reaction.  A  special  deputation  was  sent  to  me  to 
invite  me  to  attend  the  gathering.  I  was  introduced 
to  many  prominent  persons.  They  all  flattered  me  in 
the  most  repulsive  way,  and  tried  their  utmost  to  dis- 
play their  love  for  the  czar,  for  Russia,  and  for  the 
Orthodox  Russian  faith.  They  talked  for  all  they 
were  worth,  and  I  heard  all  kinds  of  accents,  French 
and  German  prevailing.  One  thing  only  was  missing, 
a  purely  Russian  pronunciation. 

After  we  had  finished  talking,  the  hospitable  gen- 
eral invited  his  guests  to  the  dining-room.  It  was 
during  Lent,  when,  according  to  the  laws  of  the 
church,  Orthodox  Russians  are  not  allowed  to  eat 
meat  or  even  fish.  They  sat  down  to  the  table  with- 
out saying  grace.  I  did  not  sit  down,  for  I  noticed 
a  great  number  of  meat  dishes  on  the  table.  Instead, 
I  addressed  the  assembly  as  follows: 

''Gentlemen,  I  shall  not  partake  of  the  meal  with 
you.  You  are  insincere  and  double-dealing  persons. 
In  the  adjoining  room  you  spoke  of  your  devotion  to 
Orthodoxy,  and  in  this  room  you  trample  your  own 
words  and  Orthodxy  under  your  feet.  You  have  sat 
down  at  the  table  without  saying  grace.  You  are 
going  to  eat  meat  though  it  is  Lent.     Farewell !" 

The  guests  became  embarrassed.  Amid  dead  si- 
lence I  left  the  house.     Before  I  had  time  to  reach 

Aged  21 


my  home  the  telephone  wires  all  over  the  city  were 

busy.     Princess  B B was  asking  Comitess 

M M : 

"Have  you  heard  about  it?  What  do  you  think  of 
Iliodor?  What  unheard  of  audacity!  Why,  he 
scolded  everybody!  Eugene  Vasileyevitch  has  been 
taken  ill  on  account  of  the  scandal."  And  Countess 
M M replied: 

"You  see  now,  don't  you?  I  told  you  long  ago 
that  this  seminary  student  must  not  be  admitted  to 
our  society.  They  lack  manners,  those  seminary 
students  do.  I  've  known  them  for  a  long  time.  My 
husband  can't  bear  the  sight  of  them.  They  are  all 
bad  enough,  but  Iliodor  is  by  far  the  worst.  They 
are  all  ruffians  of  the  worst  sort." 

And  as  if  by  magic  my  best  friends  turned  into 
bitter  enemies,  and  decided  to  keep  a  vigilant  eye  on 
me  lest  I  prove  to  be  another  Gapon,  who  had  led  the 
people  to  the  czar's  palace  to  demand  rights  and  more 

I  made  a  great  number  of  enemies,  but  I  still  re- 
tained many  friends,  and  the  latter  requested  Nich- 
olas to  make  me  a  preacher  of  patriotism  in  the  reg- 
iments of  the  Imperial  Guard,  stationed  at  Petrograd, 
Tsarskoe  Selo,  New  and  Old  Peterhof,  and  the 
neighborhood  of  Petrograd  in  general.  For  a  long 
time  Nicholas  could  not  make  up  his  mind,  for  he 
feared  to  quarrel  with  the  court  clergy,  who  did  not 
like  to  admit  new  men  to  their  circle.  But  at  last, 
under  the  pressure  of  the  guard  commanders,  the  czar 

36        THE  MAD  MONK  OF  RUSSIA 

gave  his  consent.  The  commanders  assembled  at 
Old  Peterhof  and  decided  to  examine  me  and  give 
me  a  trial.  They  took  me  to  the  Officers'  Club  of 
the  Dragoon  Regiment  in  Old  Peterhof,  and  asked 
me  to  deliver  a  speech  before  the  soldiers,  telling  them 
that  the  peasants  needed  no  land  and  that  they  could 
honestly  and  devotedly  serve  the  czar  without  owning 
any.  It  was  Count  Feodor  Arthurovitch  Keller  who 
was  specially  persistent  in  asking  me  to  deliver  the 

We  went  to  the  riding-house.  On  my  way  there  I 
made  up  my  mind  to  speak  on  the  land  question; 
but  when  we  came  to  the  riding-house  and  I  saw  the 
bright,  candid  faces  of  the  Petkas,  Vankas,  and 
Grischkas,  whose  only  hope  it  was  that  the  czar  would 
solve  the  question  of  land  famine  satisfactorily  in  rec- 
ognition of  their  faithful  service — when  I  saw  them, 
I  say,  I  changed  the  subject  of  my  sermon.  I  spoke 
to  them  on  the  czar's  throne,  and  told  them  that  it 
rested  on  a  foundation  of  corpses.  I  knew  I  was  not 
saying  what  those  who  had  brought  me  there  wanted 
me  to  say.  I  saw  the  Arthurovitches  and  the 
Edouardovitches  exchanging  glances ;  but  I  could  not 
stop,  and  I  wound  up  my  sermon  with  an  appeal  to 
the  soldiers  to  defend  the  czar  in  the  hope  that  he  alone 
would  gi'ant  land  to  the  poor  peasants. 

A  frightful  scandal  resulted.  I  failed  utterly  in 
my  examination  for  the  position  of  patriotic  preacher 
to  the  soldiers;  but  the  soldiers  expressed  their  grati- 
tude to  me  for  my  sermon,  and  greeted  it  with  loud 


hurrahs.  In  the  confusion  the  Arthurovitches  and 
Edouardovitches  left  the  place  unnoticed.  Only 
Colonel  Macziewsky,  a  Pole,  remained  with  me.  He 
escorted  me  home,  and  said  to  me  on  the  way : 

"You  see,  little  Father!  An  hour  ago  they  were 
with  you,  and  now  they  have  all  left  you.  You  un- 
derstand that  they  were  dissatisfied  with  your  sermon. 
To-morrow  they  '11  see  the  czar  and  try  to  influence 
him  against  you,  and  the  czar  is  a  very  weak  and 
inconstant  man.  As  an  instance,  let  me  tell  you 
what  once  happened  to  me.  He  sent  us  to  the  Baltic 
Provinces  to  "quiet"  the  Letts.  We  had  breakfast 
with  the  czar  before  we  left,  and  he  said  to  us,  *See 
that  you  show  the  rebels  no  mercy.'  We  of  course 
replied  that  we  should  be  glad  to  obey  his  Imperial 
Majesty.  When  we  returned  from  our  expedition 
he  again  had  breakfast  with  us  and  said :  'I  thank  you 
for  your  faithful  services.  I  hope  it  goes  without 
saying  that  you  did  not  treat  them  too  cruelly.'  We 
smiled,  slightly  embarrassed,  and  looked  at  one  an- 
other. Then  we  said  to  him:  'No,  your  Majesty. 
They  got  off  very  easily.'  Do  you  want  to  know 
how  'easily'  they  got  off?  Why,  little  Father,  I  my- 
self hanged  eighty-five  men.  To  this  day  I  see  them 
before  my  eyes,  hanging  in  a  long,  long  row!" 

The  colonel  covered  his  face  with  his  hands,  began 
to  shiver,  and  burst  out  crying  like  a  child.  And  then 
he  continued: 

"An  accursed  duty  is  ours.  Every  human  being 
wants  to  live,  but  we  think  that  only  we  are  entitled 

38        THE  MAD  MONK  OF  RUSSIA 

to  live,  and  we  flog  and  kill  the  people  and  teach  our 
soldiers  to  flog  and  kill.  The  soldiers  obey  us,  but 
they  understand  that  they  act  against  their  own 
interests.  They  do  not  love  the  czar.  These  gor- 
geous parades  and  thundering  cheers  are  nothing  but 
a  comedy.  Before  every  parade  we  instruct  the  sol- 
diers to  shout  hurrah  at  the  top  of  their  lungs  when 
the  czar  makes  his  appearance." 

My  "examination"  and  the  speech  I  delivered  to 
the  soldiers  made  a  strong  impression  on  me.  A  week 
later  I  published  an  open  letter  to  the  czar  entitled, 
"When  will  the  End  of  the  Revolution  Come?" 
Among  other  things  I  wrote  as  follows: 

Czar,  console  the  peasants  with  thy  kindness.  In  thy  im- 
perial hands  there  are  many  means  that  common  mortals  do 
not  possess.  The  stringent  laws  of  land-ownership  cannot 
be  infringed  upon  by  those  who  would  like  to  see  the  common 
people  happy  at  the  expense  of  others.  But  for  thee,  great 
Ruler,  there  is  nothing  impossible  in  Russia.  It  was  said 
once  upon  a  time  that  the  law  of  serfdom  was  immutable; 
but  thy  grandfather,  the  people's  czar,  abolished  slavery  for- 
ever with  one  stroke  of  his  pen.  Thy  grandfathers,  thy 
great-grandfathers,  and  thy  great-grandmothers  made 
grants  of  many  thousands  of  acres  of  land  to  their  courtiers. 
And  thou,  unlimited  autocrat,  art  able  to  appropriate  as 
many  acres  of  those  lands  as  are  needed  to  distribute  among 
thy  devoted  peasants.  In  order  more  easily  to  accomplish 
this,  remove  from  thy  palace  and  from  thy  court  all  those 
men  in  whose  veins  flows  foreign  blood  and  who  are  of  the 
orthodox  faith  only  because  they  are  compelled  to  adhere 
to  it,  and  replace  them  with  men  of  purely  Russian  blood. 

Influenced  by  this  letter,  the  czar,  as  I  was  after- 


wards  told  by  Dubrovin,  the  leader  of  the  Black 
Hundreds,  summoned  all  his  relatives  for  a  consulta- 
tion in  order  to  decide  whether  or  not  the  time  had 
actually  come  to  relinquish  their  land  ownership  in 
favor  of  the  peasants.  The  relatives  kept  still  and 
shrugged  their  shoulders.  Suddenly  Grand  Duke 
Nicolas  Nicholaivitch  rose,  tore  his  coat  and  shirt,  and 
full  of  anger  shouted  to  the  czar,  "You  want  to  take 
the  shirts  off  our  backs!"  Nicholas  became  fright- 
ened, adjourned  the  meeting,  and  after  that  made  no 
further  attempts  to  distribute  land  among  the  peas- 

After  my  open  letter  to  Nicholas,  the  abyss  between 
my  former  friends  and  protectors  and  me  began  to 
grow  wider  and  deeper.  With  very  few  exceptions, 
the  entire  court  aristocracy  came  out  against  me. 
They  declared  me  a  dangerous  revolutionary,  and  re- 
quested that  mj'^  wings  should  be  clipped  before  it  was 
too  late.  And  the  Holy  Synod,  angered  by  my  au- 
dacity and  insubordination,  took  their  part.  I  had 
already  attacked  the  Synod  for  their  slavish  servility 
to  the  lay  powers  and  to  those  who  exercised  influence 
at  court.  "You  are  not  servants  of  the  people,"  I  had 
said,  "but  proud,  selfish,  mercenary  masters."  Now, 
at  the  end  of  1907,  I  came  out  in  the  papers  with  a 
severe  arraignment  under  the  title,  "To  My  High 
Judges,"  in  which  I  addressed  the  Holy  Synod  as 
follows : 

You  taunt  me  with  not  knowing  the  Gospel  and  not  adorn- 
ing my  soul  with  modesty.     I  was  not  taught  to  be  modest 

40        THE  MAD  MONK  OF  RUSSIA 

and  tender-hearted;  I  was  taught  to  be  militant.  As  for 
you,  jou  are  meek  and  good  and  modest  only  when  it  pays 
you.  You  crawl  in  the  dust  before  the  strong  and  mighty 
in  order  to  be  able  to  satiate  yourself  with  earthly  happiness. 
You  say  to  the  people,  "Store  up  treasures  for  the  world  to 
come,"  while  you  yourselves  gather  earthly  treasures.  You 
compel  the  people  to  turn  away  with  disdain  from  all  the 
good  things  in  life  because  "man  is  mortal."  How  about 
yourselves?  Are  you  immortal?  And  this  is  the  result: 
the  people  starve  and  die  of  hunger,  and  you  eat  well  and 
sleep  on  soft  beds  and  dwell  in  palaces.  No,  I  shall  not  obey 

For  having  published  this  article  the  Holy  Synod 
decided  to  unfrock  me  and  to  exile  me  to  the  monas- 
tery of  Solovetzk,  on  the  ^\Tiite  Sea.  But  the  czar 
had  not  lost  faith  in  me  as  one  of  the  rising  hopes 
of  autocracy.  In  this  he  had  Rasputin  behind  him. 
When  Isvolsky,  the  Procurator  of  the  Holy  Synod, 
submitted  this  decision  to  him,  Nicholas  wrote  on  the 
report  the  following  words,  "Do  not  molest  Father 
Iliodor."  The  Synod  bowed  to  the  czar's  will,  but 
deep  in  their  hearts  they  hid  their  anger,  and  decided 
to  get  even  with  me  at  the  very  first  opportunity. 
For  this  they  had  to  wait  four  years. 


"the  mad  monk" 

Meanwhile  I  decided  to  leave  Petrograd  and 
work  among  the  peasants.  I  went  to  Volhynia, 
where  I  made  my  headquarters  at  Potchaevskaya 
Lavra,  chief  monastery,  editing  a  religious  paper  and 
teaching  and  preaching. 

I  now  began  what  my  enemies  soon  branded  as  a 
political  propaganda,  although  I  attacked  the  revolu- 
tionists without  mercy,  classing  the  Jews  with  them. 
With  all  the  violence  of  the  temperament  of  a  Don 
Cossack  I  fought  with  my  influence  for  the  church  and 
the  czar  and  the  Russian  people;  but  I  fought  those 
who  stood  near  the  czar,  and  whom  I  considered  to  be 
against  him.  I  remonstrated  with  those  who  stood  on 
the  highest  rung  of  society's  ladder;  and  at  the  other 
end  of  the  scale  I  demanded  that  the  Govermnent 
should  treat  the  revolutionists  without  any  mercy 
whatsoever,  because  they  lived  without  God  in  their 
hearts.  The  Jews  I  hated  with  eveiy  fiber  of  my 
soul.  In  the  Jew  I  saw  only  the  descendants  of  the 
priests  of  Judea  who,  pursuing  their  trivial  personal 
interests,  had  condemned  to  death  the  greatest  Jew 
that  ever  lived.  Of  the  Jev/ish  scholar,  the  Jewish 
artist,  the  Jewish  author,  and  the  Jewish  inventor  I 
knew  nothing.     All  I  had  been  taught  about  the  Jews 


42         THE  MAD  MONK  OF  RUSSIA 

was  this:  the  Jew  drinks  human  blood,  the  Jew 
regards  it  as  a  pious  deed  to  kill  a  Christian,  the  anti- 
Christ  will  spring  from  Jewish  stock,  the  Jew  is 
accursed  by  God,  the  Jew  is  the  source  of  all  the 
evil  in  the  world.  My  hatred  of  Jews  was  thus  based 
wholly  on  religious  fanaticism.  The  Jew  in  private 
life  I  did  not  know,  and  the  first  Jews  I  actually  met 
were  here  in  America. 

The  sincerity  and  vigor  of  my  struggles  against  the 
revolutionists  knew  no  limits.  Leaving  Potshaev, 
I  traveled  from  one  end  of  Russia  to  the  other,  through 
mountains  and  valleys,  cities  and  villages,  preaching 
everywhere.  The  people  followed  me  by  thousands 
and  tens  of  thousands.  The  religious  processions 
were  miles  in  length.  I  used  all  kinds  of  pictures 
suggesting  the  divine  attributes  of  the  czar.  On  the 
Volga  River  I  engaged  the  largest  steamers,  filling 
them  with  my  followers.  Thousands  and  thousands 
floated  on  the  wide  waters  of  the  beautiful  stream, 
praising  God  and  singing. 

I  used  all  kinds  of  allegories  to  impress  the  people 
with  the  dangers  emanating  from  the  revolutionists. 
On  one  occasion  I  had  constructed  a  dragon,  which 
symbolized  the  revolution.  In  the  interior  of  this 
dragon,  following  the  idea  of  the  Horse  of  Troy,  I 
placed  little  children  dressed  as  demons,  and  I 
preached  that  out  of  this  foul  mouth  proceeded  the 
devils  of  devastation,  starvation,  and  death.  Seeing 
how  the  people  were  impressed  when  these  little  de- 
mons jumped  out  of  the  dragon,  I  grasped  the  oppor- 






"THE  MAD  MONK"  45 

tiinity  and  said,  "Let  us  burn  this  monster  that  de- 
voui's  the  heart  of  Russia."  The  people,  hypnotized 
by  my  eloquence,  burned  the  dragon,  signifying  by 
this  act  the  breaking  up  of  the  revolution.  It  was 
through  this  particular  episode  that  I  came  into  prom- 

Virtually  every  one  who  listened  to  me  became  my 
follower.  With  those  who  did  not  come  to  me  I  fol- 
lowed the  example  of  Mohammed.  In  the  churches 
that  I  visited  during  the  Christmas  season  I  saw 
only  the  common  people,  and,  noting  the  absence  of 
the  better  classes,  I  asked  where  thej''  were.  At  night 
I  went  to  the  theaters,  restaurants,  and  places  of 
amusement  where  they  congregated,  and  although  I 
spoke  to  none  of  the  heretics,  my  mere  presence  was 
a  reproach  to  them.  Frequently,  at  my  approach,  I 
observed  gamblers  trying  to  collect  their  money  and 
cards  to  hide  them,  and  being  unable  to  do  so. 

My  success  was  due,  first,  to  my  convincing  and 
powerful  eloquence  and  my  clean  moral  life,  of  which 
every  one  knew;  and,  second,  to  my  absolute  humility. 
I  continued  fasting ;  I  slept  on  wooden  blocks  without 
mattress  or  pillow.  The  people  considered  me  a  saint, 
and  many  who  were  sick  and  suffering  came  to  ask 
for  healing,  attributing  divine  power  to  me. 

The  revolutionists,  meanwhile,  sent  me  anonymous 
letters  threatening  to  kill  me.  On  one  occasion  they 
placed  ten  bombs  in  the  Potchaevskaya  Monastery  to 
blow  it  up.  The  secret  police  discovered  this  plot  in 
time  to  save  me. 

46        THE  MAD  MONK  OF  RUSSIA 

While  I  was  exhorting  the  Government  to  hang 
those  who  opposed  it,  I  turned  also  against  the  Black 
Hundreds,  which  had  grouped  themselves  into  a  soci- 
ety called  "The  Union  of  the  Russian  People."  I 
could  not  tolerate  seeing  under  this  flag  men  who, 
while  they  represented  my  own  ideas,  thought  only  of 
their  own  skins — the  aristocrats  of  aristocratic  prerog- 
atives, the  land-owners  of  land  monopoly,  etc.  Ev- 
erywhere at  the  meetings  of  the  Black  Hundreds  I 
denounced  them,  saying:  "You  believe  in  the  autoc- 
racy only  because  you  believe  that  the  autocracy  de- 
fends your  interests.  In  religion  you  see  only  some- 
thing that  safeguards  your  interests.  The  church  you 
forget;  only  when  danger  comes  do  you  use  it  as  a 

My  activities  had  begun  in  1905,  when  the  Russian 
nation,  disfranchised  and  enslaved,  had  risen  against 
the  autocratic  system  of  government. 

In  my  heart  of  hearts  I,  too,  was  an  extreme  revolu- 
tionist, a  fact  that  is  corroborated  by  the  famous  Rus- 
sian authoress  Gippius,  who  made  me  the  hero  of 
her  novel  "Czarevich  Roman,"  under  the  name  of 
Father  Illarion.  I  had  placed  myself  on  the  side  of 
the  reactionaries  because  the  revolutionists  had  not 
inscribed  upon  their  red  flag  the  name  of  God.  Had 
they  added  to  the  words,  *Tn  the  struggle  thou  shalt 
attain  thy  rights,"  the  words,  "Thus  saith  the  Lord 
of  truth,"  the  revolution  would  undoubtedly  have 
found  me  in  its  foremost  ranks.  It  is  my  profound 
conviction  that  the  revolution  of  1905  failed  because 

"THE  MAD  MONK"  47 

they  did  not  do  this.  In  their  fight  for  a  new  and 
better  Russia  they  did  not  take  into  consideration  the 
religious  spirit  of  the  Russian  people. 

The  sharpest  of  my  attacks  during  the  years  1906 
and  1907  were  directed  against  the  landowners.  I 
attacked  them  for  their  traitorous  conduct  in  selling 
land  to  German  colonists  just  because  they  came  sup- 
plied with  ready  cash,  and  in  refusing  to  sell  it  to  the 
Russian  peasants  who  were  starving  for  the  want  of 
soil  and  who  could  pay  for  it  only  by  instalments. 
These  attacks  of  mine  incensed  the  landowners,  on 
the  one  hand,  and  the  German  faction  at  court,  on  the 
other.  Thej^  were  incensed  at  my  audacity,  but  they 
did  not  know  what  to  undertake  against  me,  for  the 
czar,  backed  by  Rasputin,  took  my  part.  One  of 
them.  Senator  Turav,  who  a  few  years  later  conducted 
the  inquest  into  Stolypin's  assassination,  wrote  me  the 
following  advice: 

"Holy  Father,  preach  to  the  people  about  heaven, 
but  leave  earthly  affairs  to  us." 

This  is  how  I  replied: 

I  shall  not  ideprive  you  of  your  land,  because  I,  as  a 
monk,  need  little  of  it;  just  enough  for  a  grave  is  all  I  want. 
But  I  come  out  against  you  because  my  God  and  Christ  or- 
dained me  to  establish  the  kingdom  of  heaven  on  earth ;  in 
other  words,  to  strive  for  the  kingdom  of  God  for  the  rule  of 
justice  and  humanity. 

I  added  more  oil  to  the  flame  of  their  wrath  in  the 
form  of  a  booklet  of  mine  entitled  "The  Vision  of  a 
Monk."     In  this  booklet  I  addressed  myself  to  the 

48        THE  MAD  MONK  OF  RUSSIA 

reactionaries,  and  said  to  them  in  the  most  direct 
terms  possible : 

You  are  swindlers.  You  side  with  the  czar  only  because 
you  desire  to  retain  in  your  hands  your  land  and  your 
power.  You  are  not  worthy  of  standing  under  the  banner 
of  Russia.  You  desecrate  it.  You  serve  the  devil  and  not 

For  having  written  this  booklet  I  was  nicknamed 
*'The  Fallen  Hero." 

But  I  went  still  further.  In  the  Volhynian  city  of 
Zdolbunov  I  preached  before  an  audience  of  many 
thousands,  saying  that  the  autocracy  must  heed  the 
wisdom  and  will  of  the  entire  nation,  and  must  not 
allow  itself  to  be  cared  for  and  to  be  led  by  govern- 
ment officials  only.  I  said  that  the  bureaucrats  were 
nothing  but  a  parasitic  growth  on  the  body  of  autoc- 
racy, sucking  out  the  sap  from  the  rose.  The  czar 
is  surrounded,  I  asserted,  by  thieves,  grafters,  and 

Now,  Stolypin  had  been  all  his  life  long  the  spokes- 
man of  the  landowners.  As  the  leader  of  the  reac- 
tion, accordingly,  he  led  the  attack  against  me.    At 

tills  moment  he  directed  Baron  S ,  governor  of 

Volhynia,  to  examine  me  and  demand  an  explanation 
for  my  "criminal"  sermon.  The  governor  asked  me 
to  call  on  him,  and  the  following  conversation  en- 

"Did  you  say  that  the  czar  is  surrounded  by  thieves, 
grafters  and  swindlers?" 

"THE  MAD  MONK"  49 

"I  did,  your  Excellency." 

"Are  you  absolutely  certain  about  this?" 

"Yes,  I  am  absolutely  certain  about  it." 

"How  can  you  know?  Is  it  written  on  their  fore- 

"No,  it  is  not;  but  I  know  it,  just  the  same. 
If  you  wish,  I  will  enumerate  the  persons  to  you." 

The  governor  looked  at  me  savagely  but  said  noth- 
ing. His  silence  was  to  be  attributed  to  a  very  simple 
cause.  The  Senate  had  become  active  a  short  time 
before  with  an  affair  concerning  the  baron.  This 
affair  consisted  of  his  having  erased  a  figure  in  an 
official  document  in  order  to  conceal  the  theft  of  thirty 
thousand  rubles  which  he  had  appropriated  from  gov- 
ernment funds.     In  addition,  I  knew  that  a  court 

commandant  D had  stolen  sixty-five  thousand 

rubles  given  to  him  by  Nicholas  for  the  relief  of  the 
starving,  and  that  Prince  P had  stolen  seventy- 
two  thousand  rubles  which  the  czarina  had  given  him 
for  the  erection  of  a  monastery  at  Peterhof . 

In  fine,  my  sermon  on  thieves,  grafters,  and  swind- 
lers had  no  lamentable  consequences  for  me.  But  the 
whole  story,  especially  the  governor's  admonition, 
aroused  my  anger,  and  I  made  up  my  mind  to  get 
even  with  the  main  culprit,  Stolypin,  at  the  very  first 
opportunity.     This  opportunity  came  soon. 

Stolypin  assembled  the  landowners  in  Petrograd 
for  a  secret  consultation,  and  said  to  them  as  follows : 
"Spread  patriotic  appeals  among  your  peasants,  and 

50        THE  MAD  MONK  OF  RUSSIA 

if  after  that  they  still  keep  on  rebelling  and  demand- 
ing land,  well,  I  give  my  word  I  '11  shoot  them  all  like 
so  many  dogs." 

As  soon  as  I  found  out  about  the  secret  consulta- 
tion, I  wTote  and  published  a  pamphlet  entitled  "A 
Lament  on  the  Ruin  of  our  Beloved  Fatherland.'* 
Addressing  Stolypin,  I  said: 

The  peasants  will  not  read  your  appeals,  because  they  do 
not  know  how  to  read ;  you  have  not  taught  them  to  read 
and  write.  Feed  the  peasants,  educate  them,  and  then  you 
will  be  able  to  sleep  undisturbed  and  will  not  have  to  use 
cannon  against  your  own  people. 

This  was  reported  to  the  czar,  and  he  gave  his  con- 
sent to  have  me  removed  from  Volhynia.  I  was  ap- 
pointed a  missionary  to  the  city  of  Tsaritzin,  on  the 
Volga.  Before  leaving,  however,  I  published  the  ser- 
mon which  I  had  delivered  at  the  Cathedral  of  Jito- 
mir  on  February  2,  1908,  saying,  among  other 
things:  "Do  penance!  Do  penance,  ye  landowners, 
ere  it  is  too  late!  For  if  you  do  not  repent,  the 
Germans  will  invade  Russia  like  birds  of  prey,  and 
will  peck  out  the  bright  eyes  of  the  Russian  people." 

In  the  tumultuous  commercial  center  of  Tsaritzin 
I  appeared  before  the  common  people  crowned  with 
the  thorny  wreath  of  a  martyr.  They  flocked  to  me 
in  gi'eat  numbers.  During  the  first  summer  alone 
they  brought  me  several  hundred  thousand  rubles. 
All  this  money  I  spent  in  the  erection  of  a  great  mon- 
astery of  which  I  shall  have  much  more  to  say  later  in 
this  book. 

"THE  MAD  MONK"  51 

My  enemies,  meanwhile,  attacked  me  on  all  sides. 
The  high  church  officials,  the  civil  officials,  and  the 
representatives  of  the  revolutionaiy  movement  con- 
ducted a  desperate  campaign  against  me.  The 
clergy  investigated  my  pedigree  and  attempted  to 
discover  drunkards  and  madmen  among  my  ances- 
tors. The  lay  officials  told  the  czar  that  another 
Pugatcheff  had  appeared  in  the  Volga  provinces  as 
dangerous  for  him  as  the  first  Pugatcheff  had  been  for 
Catherine  II.  The  revolutionists  published  long  ar- 
ticles about  me,  claiming  that  I  had  horns  under  my 
priest's  cowl,  hoofs  instead  of  toes  and  heels,  and  a 
long  tail  under  my  cassock.  In  short,  I  was  hated  by 
all  parties ;  but  this  only  made  me  all  the  firmer  in  my 

Nevertheless,  this  bitter  political  struggle  came  near 
unbalancing  me.  From  the  modest,  unassuming 
monk  that  I  had  been  three  or  four  years  before  I  was 
transformed  into  a  monster  of  audacity.  Speaking 
of  certain  governors  and  ministers  whom  I  disliked, 
I  used  to  state  publicly  that  they  ought  to  be  flogged 
in  the  czar's  stables.  I  accused  bishops  and  priests 
without  reservation  of  being  mercenary  and  sinful. 
My  adversaries  declared  that  I  was  insane.  I  re- 
plied: "That  is  just  what  I  expect.  If  you  wish  to 
kill  a  dog,  call  him  mad."  But  my  position  was  very 
exalted,  for  my  power  over  the  people  was  without 

As  I  have  explained,  surrounded  by  enemies  on 
every  side,  I  was  all  alone.     But  it  was  just  then  that 

52        THE  MAD  MONK  OF  RUSSIA 

the  most  powerful  man  in  Russia,  Gregory  Rasputin, 
came  to  my  assistance.  He  came  to  me  of  his  own 
accord  because  he  needed  a  man  who  could  support 
his  authority  and  defend  him  against  the  attacks  of 
public  opinion  outside  of  court  circles.  The  reader 
knows  how  he  had  already  gi  en  me  assistance.  But 
now,  realizing  the  extent  of  my  power,  he  made  me 
his  most  intimate  friend.  Under  his  protection  I  had 
nothing  to  fear.  Through  him  I  began  to  influence 
the  czar  and  czarina  themselves. 

In  order  to  collect  evidence  against  me,  Stolypin 
ordered  the  Governor  of  Saratoff  to  send  a  detach- 
ment of  police  to  my  services.  They  were  supposed 
to  take  reports  on  my  sermons.  It  was  a  comical 
sight,  I  standing  at  the  altar  and  preaching,  the  police 
standing  at  the  entrance  with  copy-books  in  their 
hands,  writing  down  everything  I  said.  Afterward 
they  would  make  out  a  detailed  report  of  my  sermon 
and  submit  it  to  the  governor,  the  governor  would 
send  the  report  to  Stolypin,  Stolypin  in  turn  would 
submit  it  to  the  procurator  of  the  Holy  Synod,  and 
the  latter  would  finally  present  it  to  the  czar.  A 
month  after  every  sermon  of  mine  I  invariably  re- 
ceived a  ukase  from  the  Holy  Synod.  Along  with 
this,  they  always  sent  a  copy  of  "my"  sermon, 
which  in  realitj'^  was  not  mine  at  all ;  for  it  was  changed 
to  such  an  extent  that  I  could  not  recognize  it.  And 
everj^  ukase  caustically  forbade  me  ever  again  to  de- 
liver similar  sermons,  saying  that  they  displeased  the 
czar  and  czarina.     I  was  beside  myself  with  anger. 


O  a 

pa  t. 

K  ■" 

S  « 

a:  £ 

a  "5) 

h  a 

5  -o 

a.   c3 

y       a) 

C  -a 

-t;    o 

"THE  MAD  MONK"  55 

But  what  could  I  do?  There  seemed  to  be  no  action 
that  I  could  take  against  the  perversions  of  the  police. 

It  was  then  that  I  applied  to  Rasputin.  I  gave 
him  a  collection  of  sermons  by  Nikanor  of  Kherson 
saying,  "Give  this  book  to  the  czar  and  tell  him  that 
on  such  and  such  a  day  I  will  repeat  word  for  word 
the  sermon  of  Nikanor  on  Theater  Performances  dur- 
ing Lent." 

Rasputin  did  as  I  had  asked  him,  and  on  the  day 
I  had  designated  I  read  Nikanor's  sermon.  The 
police  took  it  down  as  usual,  and,  as  usual,  their  record 
did  not  in  the  least  tally  with  what  I  had  actually  said. 
Stolypin  went  to  the  czar  with  my  altered  and  dis- 
torted sermon.  Nicholas  read  it,  showed  Stolypin 
the  book  I  had  submitted  to  him  through  Rasputin, 
and  said: 

"This  is  the  sermon  Iliodor  delivered,  not  the  re- 
port you  brought  me.  The  sermon  you  have  brought 
me  was  composed  by  your  policemen.  Tell  them  not 
to  pry  into  things  that  do  not  concern  them." 

After  that  I  saw  no  more  policemen  at  my  services, 
but  their  places  were  taken  by  plainclothes-men  and 

As  ill  luck  would  have  it,  shortly  after  my  triumph 
over  Stolypin  I  delivered  a  sermon  in  which  I  stated 
that  God  had  given  me  the  right  to  admonish  not  only 
Stolypin,  but  even  the  czar  himself,  if  I  thought  that 
he  did  not  act  in  accordance  with  God's  will  and  the 
Holy  Scriptures.  This  sermon  very  nearly  caused 
my  undoing.     Stolypin  went  to  see  the  czar  about  it, 

56        THE  MAD  MONK  OF  RUSSIA 

and  Nicholas  ordered  the  Holy  Synod  to  send  me  a 
telegram  inquiring  whether  or  not  I  had  actually  de- 
livered the  sermon.     I  replied  that  I  had. 

Immediately  thereupon  an  order  was  issued  to 
transfer  me  to  Minsk.  I  stubbornly  refused  to  obey. 
"I  will  not  budge  from  Tsaritzin,"  I  said.  But 
authorities  evicted  me  from  my  monastery  and  sus- 
pended all  its  activities. 

There  was  only  one  thing  left  for  me  to  do,  to  go  to 
Petrograd  in  person  and  exculpate  myself  by  declar- 
ing that  I  was  in  the  right,  having  acted  in  accordance 
with  God's  word.  But  all  my  efforts  were  in  vain; 
even  God's  word  would  not  avail.  Nobody  listened 
to  me,  and  the  order  "to  Minsk"  remained  in  force. 

Again  Rasputin  came  to  my  aid.  He  had  just  re- 
turned from  a  journey  to  Siberia.  He  proceeded  to 
persuade  the  czar  in  his  own  way,  without  citing 
God's  words,  saying  to  him,  "Return  Iliodor  to 

"But  how  can  I  do  this,  since  I  have  already  given 
my  consent  for  his  transfer  to  Minsk?  I  even  signed 
the  order." 

Rasputin  replied : 

"You  are  the  czar.  Act  like  one.  You  have  given 
your  word,  but  you  can  recall  it.  When  you  threw 
Iliodor  to  the  dogs  to  be  devoured  by  them,  you 
signed  your  name  like  this — from  left  to  right.  All 
you  have  to  do  now  is  to  sign  it  from  right  to  left. 
Then  you  will  have  acted  like  a  real  czar." 

"THE  MAD  MONK"  57 

Such  was  the  report  Rasputin  gave  me  later. 

After  this  piece  of  "enlightenment,"  Nicholas  wrote 
Stolypin  as  follows: 

"I  permit  Priest  Iliodor  to  return  to  Tsaritzin  on 
probation — for  the  last  time." 

"This  order  of  the  czar  puts  me  at  the  mercy  of  the 
ministers,"  I  said  to  Rasputin.  "They  will  grasp  this 
opportunity  and  devour  me  alive." 

"Fear  not,"  Rasputin  answered.  "They  won't  de- 
vour you.  It  was  necessary  to  throw  them  a  bone  in 
order  to  silence  them.  Pity  the  czar.  Do  you  think 
it  is  an  easy  task  for  him  to  quarrel  with  his  minis- 

These  words  calmed  me. 

It  was  just  before  this  that  Rasputin  had  arranged 
to  have  me  presented  to  the  czarina  at  Tsarskoe  Selo. 
This,  my  first  introduction  to  a  member  of  the  imperial 
family,  occurred  on  April  3,  1909. 

The  czarina  received  me  not  at  the  imperial  palace, 
but  at  the  home  of  her  intimate  friend  and  ladv-in- 
waiting,  Anna  Viroubova,  who  occupied  an  apartment 
at  2  Tzerkovnaia  Street,  Tsarskoe  Selo,  facing  the 
palace  and  just  outside  the  gates. 

The  appointment  was  for  nine  o'clock  in  the  even- 
ing. I  had  arrived  a  little  time  before,  Viroubova's 
house  being  Rasputin's  headquarters  at  Tsarskoe 
Selo.  Promply  at  nine  the  bell  rang,  and  Viroubova 
herself  ran  to  the  door.  Immediately  afterward  the 
czarina  appeared,  breathing  hard,  having  evidently 

58        THE  MAD  MONK  OF  RUSSIA 

hurried  across  from  the  palace.  She  was  beautifully 
dressed,  and  wore  over  her  shoulders  a  feather- 
trimmed  cloak  of  the  sort  we  call  in  Russia  a 
doushegreika,  or  "soul-warmer." 

I  was  shocked  at  her  appearance.  Instead  of  the 
delicate  and  majestic  figure  and  the  calm  face  that 
were  familiar  to  me  from  photographs,  I  saw  before 
me  a  woman  who  was  plainly  the  victim  of  nervous 
maladies.  She  was  in  perpetual  motion  and  seemed 
to  be  constantly  grimacing;  her  whole  manner  was 
disjointed,  and  she  spoke  jerkily.  I  was  surprised 
also  to  find  that  she  spoke  Russian  with  a  strong 
German  accent,  so  strong,  indeed,  that  at  first  I  could 
not  understand  what  she  was  saying. 

The  czarina  began  by  asking  me  a  few  perfunctoiy 
questions  about  myself.  Then  she  passed  imme- 
diately to  my  sermons,  saying: 

"You  have  insulted  Governor  Tatischev  of  Sara- 
toff.  You  said  in  one  of  your  sermons  that  he  was 
no  more  of  a  Christian  than  a  Tatar  Khan.  That  is 
bad.  You  must  not  attack  our  ministers  and  gov- 
ernors. You  must  not.  It  is  not  right.  They  have 
enough  to  put  up  with  in  the  attacks  of  our  enemies. 
Our  friends  at  least  should  not  attack  them." 

In  point  of  fact  I  had  not  attacked  Governor 
Tatischev.  It  was  my  friend  Bishop  Hermogenes 
who  had  done  this  in  a  famous  sermon  the  year  be- 
fore on  the  heir's  name-day.  But  I  did  not  wish  to 
betray  my  friend ;  so  I  decided  to  accept  the  czarina's 
scolding  without  demur,  imploring  her,  however,  not 

"THE  MAD  MONK"  59 

to  rely  on  the  bishops  and  the  nobility,  who  had  only 
their  own  interests  in  mind,  but  to  build  her  own  hap- 
piness on  the  happiness  of  the  entire  Russian  people. 

Then  the  czarina  turned  the  conversation  to  Ras- 
putin. "You  listen  to  Father  Gregory,"  she  advised 
me.  "He  will  lead  you  to  the  light.  He  is  the  great- 
est living  ascetic.  He  keeps  meditating  all  the  time 
over  the  welfare  of  Russia.  A  saint  he  is,  a  great 

At  the  close  of  our  conversation  the  czarina  asked 
me  to  sign  a  pledge  never  again  to  attack  the  ministers 
and  the  Government.  Viroubova  brought  paper  and 
ink.  What  could  I  do?  I  would  have  signed  any- 
thing that  would  have  permitted  me  to  remain  at 
Tsaritzin  and  continue  my  work  among  my  own 
people.  I  saw  no  way  to  avoid  it,  but  as  I  signed 
the  pledge  I  prayed  Heaven  to  bear  witness  that  it 
was  against  my  conscience  and  that  I  could  never 
carry  out  my  promise. 

My  life  returned  to  its  normal  current.  As  soon  as 
I  returned  to  Tsaritzin  I  went  on  as  before  with  my 
attacks  upon  the  corrupt  bureaucrats,  still  hoping  that 
the  autocracy  would  take  the  side  of  the  people  against 
them.  Several  times  I  received  reminders  from 
Tsarskoe  Selo  about  my  promise,  but  I  gave  them 
no  heed,  and  at  last  the  catastrophe  came.  Ten 
months  after  the  czar  had  countermanded  the  order 
transferring  me  to  Minsk,  Stolypin  and  the  Holy 
Synod,  enraged  beyond  measure  by  this  victory  of 
mme,  and  fearing  lest  I  organize  a  peasant  rebellion 

60        THE  MAD  MONK  OF  RUSSIA 

on  the  Volga,  succeeded  in  convincing  the  czar  that 
I  must  be  removed  from  Tsaritzin  without  fail. 
Nicholas  gave  his  consent,  insisting,  however,  that  my 
dignity  should  not  be  infringed  upon  and  that  I  should 
be  transferred  to  another  post,  out  of  harm's  way, 
but  of  equal  importance.  The  Holy  Synod  accord- 
ingly appointed  me  father  superior  of  the  Novosil 
monastery  in  the  Government  of  Tula. 

Such  was  the  decision  of  the  Holy  Synod,  but  by 
no  means  mine.  I  made  up  my  mind  that  nothing 
in  the  world  would  make  me  leave  Tsaritzin,  for  I 
knew  that  I  could  accomplish  much  more,  and  with 
more  success  awaken  the  consciousness  of  the  people, 
by  putting  an  end  to  my  incessant  wanderings  back 
and  forth  and  remaining  in  the  one  spot  where  I  had 
established  myself. 

At  this  moment  Rasputin  was  away  on  a  pilgrimage 
at  Jerusalem.  Nevertheless,  not  wishing  to  let  slip 
the  big  fish  he  had  accidentally  caught,  and  at  the 
same  time  evidently  beheving  that  it  would  not  be 
a  bad  thing  for  me  to  go  to  Novosil  for  a  while,  he 
sent  word  to  the  czar  to  have  me  admonished  by  a 
member  of  the  Holy  Synod.  Bishop  Parthenius  of 
Tula  was  accordingly  delegated  for  this  purpose,  and 
came  to  see  me,  for  I  was  in  Petrograd  at  the  time. 
When  he  began  lecturing  me  I  interrupted  him,  say- 

"You  members  of  the  Synod  have  one  master  only; 
it  is  the  chief  of  police,  Stolypin."  Parthenius  was 
highly  offended  and  immediately  left.     Then  the  czar 

"THE  MAD  MONK"  61 

sent  his  aide-de-camp  Maridrika,  who  came  in  pomp, 
accompanied  by  the  vice-director  of  the  pohce  depart- 
ment and  the  vice-governor  of  Saratoff,  all  in  full 
uniform  and  covered  with  medals  and  ribbons. 
Standing  before  me,  very  straight  and  speaking  in  a 
loud,  bullying  voice,  Mandrika  announced : 

"I  come  to  transmit  to  you  the  wish  of  his  Imperial 
Majesty,  the  Autocrat  of  All  the  Russias.  It  is  the 
wish  of  his  Imperial  Majesty  that  you  leave 
Tsaritzin  for  Novasil." 

I  replied  that  I  was  ready  and  willing  to  obey  the 
czar,  but  not  the  wish  of  Stolypin,  and  that  I  would 
show  Stolypin  that  he  could  not  have  his  own  way 
in  church  affairs,  as  he  did  in  the  affairs  of  the  police 

That  very  day,  ignoring  the  order  of  the  Holy 
Synod,  I  took  the  train  to  Tsaritzin.  Upon  my  ar- 
rival, officials  boarded  the  train  and  ordered  me  to 
return  at  once  to  the  post  designated  by  the  czar.  I 
refused  to  leave  my  carriage,  knowing  that,  as  I  was 
a  man  of  importance,  they  could  not  use  force  upon 
me.  Their  next  move  was  to  detach  my  car  from  the 
rest  of  the  train,  asking  all  the  other  passengers  to 
leave,  and  then  to  attach  a  locomotive  to  it  to  take 
me  to  the  new  destination.  When  I  discovered  this 
I  said,  "You  will  never  take  me  to  that  place  alive," 
and  I  immediately  began  a  hunger  strike.  For  two 
days  they  carried  me  in  different  directions,  while  I 
refused  to  take  any  nourishment,  asking  only  for  a 
priest  for  absolution.    At  this  the  officials  in  charge 

62        THE  MAD  MONK  OF  RUSSIA 

of  my  transfer  became  alarmed  and  decided  to  take 
me  to  my  superior,  Bishop  Hermogenes,  whom  I 
loved  and  admired  greatly.  I  decided  for  the 
moment  to  follow  his  paternal  advice,  which  was  that 
I  should  obey  the  czar  and  go  where  he  was  sending 
me.  I  accordingly  surrendered,  and  went  with  the 
police  to  Novosil. 

But  a  few  days  at  this  monastery  convinced  me  that 
I  should  never  be  able  to  develop  a  work  there.  I 
was  surrounded  by  secret-service  agents  whose  duty 
it  was  to  watch  me  and  who,  in  order  to  divert  my 
suspicion,  actually  came  to  me  asking  for  absolu- 
tion. Besides,  I  kept  thinking  of  my  people  in  Tsar- 
itzin  like  abandoned  httle  children  weeping  for 
their  father.  I  decided  to  escape  and  return  to 

Two  days  prior  to  my  flight  I  received  a  visit  from 
the  famous  Mme.  Lochtina,  friend  of  the  czar  and 
the  czarina.  She  told  the  members  of  the  monastery 
and  the  detectives  that  I  was  in  a  very  delicate  state 
of  health  and  that  my  surroundings  must  be  changed 
at  once.  I  was,  therefore,  permitted  to  go  to  a  small 
country  place  belonging  to  the  monastery.  On  the 
journey  I  found  a  favorable  opportunity  to  change 
my  dress  and,  with  the  assistance  of  Lochtina,  robed 
myself  as  a  simple  peasant.  We  made  our  way  to 
Moscow,  and  on  arriving  there,  stopped  at  the  house 
of  some  friends  of  Lochtina.  Now,  unfortunately, 
there  were  two  students  in  this  house  who  recognized 
me  and,  wishing  to  create  a  sensation,  sent  an  article 


In  1907,  before  Iliodor  became  abbot 

"{rrr^""  -tt"; 

Erected  by  Iliodor  in  1909 

"THE  MAD  MONK"  65 

to  the  paper  announcing  my  presence  in  Moscow. 
The  cat  was  out  of  the  bag,  but  before  the  pohce  had 
a  chance  to  seize  me  I  was  off  and  away. 

Then  the  governor  of  Moscow  sent  a  telegram  to 
Stolypin  saying  that  I  was  on  the  way  to  Tsaritzin, 
and  asking  what  he  should  do.  Stolypin  wired  to 
General  Kirsanoff,  chief  of  police  in  Voronech,  to 
mobilize  all  his  forces  to  take  me  as  I  passed  through 
the  town.  The  wife  of  the  general,  however,  being  a 
very  religious  woman  and  taking  pity  on  me  as  a 
priest,  prevailed  on  her  husband  not  to  stop  my  train, 
saying  to  him:  "This  man  has  done  no  harm.  He  is 
only  going  back  to  his  beloved  people."  In  conse- 
quence of  this  Kirsanoff  lost  his  position  as  chief  of 

About  a  hundred  versts  from  Tsaritzin  my  brother, 
to  whom  I  had  telegraphed  from  Moscow,  came 
aboard  the  train.  We  planned  that,  in  case  a  search 
of  the  train  was  made,  I  should  impersonate  a  sick 
man  on  his  way  to  the  Caucasus,  and  my  brother 
would  be  the  physician.  About  twenty-five  versts 
from  Tsaritzin  the  train  stopped,  and  a  whole  squad 
of  policemen,  accompanied  by  detectives,  entered  the 
train.  They  knocked  at  the  door  of  my  compartment, 
and  my  brother  opened  the  door  on  the  chain.  When 
the  chief  of  police  asked  him  who  his  companion  was, 
my  brother  replied: 

"It  is  a  patient  of  mine  whom  I  am  taking  to  the 
Caucasus  for  a  cure."  But  there  was  no  deceiving 
the  chief. 

66        THE  MAD  MONK  OF  RUSSIA 

"We  have  information  that  this  sick  man  is  none 
other  than  Father  Iliodor,"  he  said. 

I  was  accordingly  removed  from  the  train.  They 
told  me  that  I  could  not  go  to  Tsaritzin,  and  asked  me 
where  else  I  would  like  to  go.  I  asked  to  be  taken 
to  a  little  village  about  fifteen  miles  from  Tsaritzin, 
where  the  head  of  the  church,  Father  Michael  Egorov, 
was  a  friend  of  mine.  To  this  they  consented.  We 
arrived  at  four  o'clock  in  the  morning,  and  I  was 
allowed  to  proceed  to  the  church. 

In  the  meantime  the  people,  learning  of  my  arrival, 
flocked  in  in  great  numbers  from  Tsaritzin.  The 
ministers  in  Petrograd  having  insisted  that  every  care 
should  be  taken  to  prevent  me  from  proceeding  to 
Tsaritzin,  the  lieutenant-governor  mobilized  fourteen 
hundred  men  to  guard  the  road.  The  little  house 
near  the  church  was  surrounded  by  secret-police 
agents.  After  prayer  in  the  church,  I  started  for  this 
little  house,  and  what  saved  me  from  inmiediate 
capture  was  one  of  those  trifling  incidents  that  often 
have  important  consequences.  From  the  cloudy, 
early  morning  sky  the  sun  suddenly  came  out,  and  as 
it  was  quite  cold,  the  police  went  into  the  sunshine  to 
warm  themselves.  Now,  standing  near  the  house 
there  was  a  wagon  with  a  large  body.  Unobserved 
by  the  police,  I  directed  that  this  wagon  should  be 
drawn  a  little  nearer  the  house,  and  that  several 
women  should  take  all  their  belongings  and  sit  in  the 
wagon.  They  seated  themselves,  four  on  each  side, 
leaving  a  long,  narrow  space  between.     In  this  I 

"THE  MAD  MONK"  67 

quickly  concealed  myself,  while  the  women  covered 
me  with  their  wraps.  I  then  instructed  them  to  drive 
off,  and  we  proceeded  along  a  road  guarded  by  the 
soldiers  who  had  been  told  off  against  my  possible 
escape.  We  covered  the  fifteen  miles  between  the 
little  village  church  and  Tsaritzin  without  any  acci- 
dent, and  safely  reached  Tsaritzin  without  my  absence 
from  the  crowd  being  observed.  I  immediately 
entered  the  chapel  of  the  monastery. 

As  soon  as  the  guards  discovered  that  I  had  de- 
ceived them,  they  began  flocking  into  the  chapel. 
But  so  great  was  their  astonishment  that  they  refused 
to  believe  that  I  was  really  Father  Iliodor  in  person, 
and  in  order  to  convince  themselves  that  I  was  not 
a  spirit  began  asking  me  for  absolution.  It  is  the 
custom,  after  confession,  for  the  priest  to  bless  the 
penitent,  who  kisses  the  hand  of  the  priest.  One  of 
these  policemen,  having  made  his  confession,  bit  my 
outstretched  hand,  and  thus  made  sure  that  I  was 
really  human  flesh  and  blood. 

Now,  in  the  anticipation  that  the  struggle  with  my 
enemies  would  end  in  violence,  I  had  had  my 
monastery  constructed  on  the  principle  of  a  great 
fortress.  The  doors  were  heavily  armored.  Three 
thousand  workmen  had  volunteered  their  services 
without  pay,  and  the  building  had  been  erected  in 
one  year.  This  would  not  have  been  possible  except 
through  volunteer  service.  For  instance,  about  five 
hundred  poods — a  pood  is  equal  to  thirty-six  pounds 
avoirdupois — of  iron  was  needed  to  cover  the  roof, 

68        THE  MAD  MONK  OF  RUSSIA 

and  this  I  had  asked  the  people  to  get.  The  follow- 
ing day  they  brought  seven  hundred  poods.  The 
total  cost  of  the  monastery  was  seven  hundred  thou- 
sand rubles.  My  enemies,  not  wishing  to  see  me 
gain  a  foothold  anywhere,  had  refused  to  approve  the 
plans  which  I  had  to  present  prior  to  construction, 
and  when  the  ministers  heard  that  I  had  decided  to 
go  on  with  the  work  on  my  own  account,  they  sent 
a  commission  composed  of  four  men,  all  architects 
and  engineers,  endeavoring  to  prove  that  I  was 
putting  up  a  building  that  would  be  a  menace  to  those 
who  dwelt  within  it,  the  construction  being  faulty. 
Learning  of  the  expected  visit  of  this  commission,  I 
had  sent  a  telegram  to  the  governor  saying,  "I  will 
not  defend  your  commission  against  the  thousands 
of  stones  which  the  people  will  throw  at  them."  The 
commission  never  came.  The  monastery  was  built. 
It  is  considered  the  chief  glory  of  Tsaritzin,  and 
stands  to-day  as  powerful  as  ever. 

In  my  anticipation  that  this  monastery  would  be  a 
rock  on  which  I  might  stand  against  my  enemies  I 
had  not  been  mistaken.  For  twenty  days  Stolypin's 
force  now  besieged  it,  the  people  having  crowded 
within  the  walls  to  protect  and  defend  me.  The 
soldiers  planned  to  break  the  roof  of  the  monastery 
and  then  to  take  me,  surrounded  by  Cossacks,  to  the 
special  train  that  was  kept  standing  all  the  time  under 
steam  at  a  station  eight  miles  distant  from  Tsaritzin, 
ready  to  leave  as  soon  as  I  had  been  captured.  Every 
day  and  every  night  Stolypin  wired  to  the  commander 











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re  2 

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p  re 

cr  re 

01  v> 







p  2 

a    CC 

"THE  MAD  MONK"  71 

of  the  besieging  force,  asking  how  things  stood,  and 
he  invariably  received  the  same  answer,  "The  people 
are  in  our  way." 

Meanwhile  Rasputin  wrote  to  Nicholas  from 
Jerusalem,  "It  is  my  wish  that  Iliodor  remain  in 

Precisely  twenty  days  after  the  siege  of  my 
monastery  had  begun,  therefore,  the  following  tele- 
gram arrived  from  Metropolitan  Anthony  of  the 
Holy  Synod: 

In  consideration  of  the  petitions  submitted  by  the  people, 
the  czar  condescends  to  permit  the  priest  Iliodor  to  return 
from  Novosil  to  Tsaritzin. 

Anthony,  Metropolitan. 

This  happened  on  April  3, 1911.  At  the  beginning 
of  May,  Rasputin  returned  from  the  Holy  Land,  and 
immediately  thereupon  issued  an  order  for  the  dis- 
missal of  Lukjanov,  procurator  of  the  Holy  Synod, 
and  Premier  Stolypin,  the  two  main  instigators  of 
the  Tsaritzin  scandal.  Lukjanov  was  dismissed  at 
once,  and  as  for  Stolypin,  he  lasted  until  the  first  of 
September,  when  the  bullet  of  the  Jew  Dmitri  Bogrov 
compelled  him  to  retire  forever, 

I  did  not  at  first  know  that  Rasputin  had  come  to 
my  rescue.  I  was  under  the  impression  that  the  czar 
had  actually  been  influenced  by  the  people's  prayers. 
Two  months  later  the  "saint"  explained  to  me  the 
real  aspect  of  the  matter.  I  could  scarcely  believe 
him,  but  a  scandal  he  made  at  my  monastery  con- 

72         THE  MAD  MONK  OF  RUSSIA 

vinced  me  that  he  really  had  been  instrumental  in  my 
second  return  to  Tsaritzin.  A  teacher  from  Ural, 
who  had  come  on  a  pilgrimage,  and  of  whom  my 
reader  will  hear  more  anon,  arranged  a  little  reception 
for  the  "saint"  and  me,  inviting  among  others  Mme. 
Lochtina,  and  my  brother  Michael,  who  was  then 
visiting  me  and  who  already  regarded  Rasputin  with 
suspicion  on  account  of  his  kissing  and  touching 
women.  When  the  conversation  turned  on  my  re- 
turn to  Tsaritzin,  Lochtina  and  Gregory  both  stated 
in  the  most  emphatic  manner  that  it  was  due  to  the 
"saint's"  telegram  from  Jerusalem.  AVhereupon  my 
brother  Michael,  whose  manner  is  exceedingly  direct, 
knocked  his  fist  on  the  table  and  exclaimed : 

"You  are  all  liars.  It  was  not  Gregory  who  re- 
turned Iliodor.  It  was  the  people  who  protected 
him."  Immediately  Rasputin  began  to  act  like  a 
madman.  He  snorted,  spat,  threw  his  napkin  under 
the  table,  and  ran  out  of  the  room. 

A  month  and  a  half  after  my  great  victory  the 
czar  decided  to  receive  me.  Up  to  this  time  my 
communication  with  him  had  been  through  letters  and 
telegrams.  The  court  clique  had  urged  him  not  to 
see  me  in  person,  lest  by  so  doing  he  should  raise  me 
in  the  estimation  of  the  masses.  But  Nicholas  would 
listen  to  no  one  but  Rasputin.  He  decided  to  grant 
me  an  audience. 

I  received  a  card  from  Count  Fredericks,  master 
of  ceremonies,  to  the  court,  now  in  prison,  notifying 
me  that  the  czar  would  receive  me  on  the  afternoon 

'THE  MAD  MONK"  73 

of  May  21,  1911,  at  five  o'clock.  This  was  followed 
by  instructions  from  the  chief  procurator  of  the  Holy 
Synod  as  to  the  manner  in  which  I  was  to  conduct 
myself  in  the  czar's  presence.  It  was  exj)ected  that 
I  should  ask  no  questions  and  make  no  suggestions, 
but  simply  listen  to  what  the  czar  said  to  me. 

When  I  stepped  off  the  train  at  Tsarskoe  Selo  I 
found  twenty  or  thirty  officers  stationed  along  the 
platform.  None  of  them  greeted  me;  they  appeared 
not  to  know  me.  In  reality  their  eyes  were  fixed 
upon  me  and  upon  the  imperial  carriage  that  stood 
at  the  curb.  As  nobody  addressed  me,  I  approached 
the  carriage  somewhat  hesitatingly.  At  the  sight  of 
me,  however,  the  footman  sprang  from  his  place, 
saluted  me,  and  opened  the  door.  I  stepped  in,  and 
the  door  was  closed  behind  me.  I  looked  out  of  the 
carriage  window  and  observed  half  a  dozen  men  in 
civihan  clothes  loitering  about,  their  eyes  fixed  on  the 
carriage  with  the  imperial  coat  of  anns.  They  were 
spies  from  the  Fourth  Section.  The  sight  of  these 
foxlike  faces  smelling  after  me  filled  me  with  pity  for 
the  czar. 

And  here  let  me  tell  a  little  incident  connected  with 
my  visit  to  Nicholas  that  may  interest  my  readers. 
Some  time  before  my  struggle  at  Tsaritzin  I  was 
making  a  pilgrimage  from  one  monastery  to  another. 
The  distance  I  had  to  cover  was  about  thirty  miles. 
Half-way  there  my  feet  became  inflamed  from  walk- 
ing, and  I  needed  a  little  cane  to  support  me,  but  had 
no  pocket-knife  to  cut  a  stick.     Just  at  this  time  I 

74        THE  MAD  MONK  OF  RUSSIA 

met  an  old  man  accompanied  by  a  little  girl  of  fifteen, 
also  on  a  pilgrimage,  both  of  whom  had  sticks.  I 
accosted  the  old  man,  saying: 

"Grandfather,  will  you  not  let  me  have  your  stick? 
My  feet  are  so  swollen  that  it  is  hard  for  me  to  walk." 

"How  do  you  expect  me  to  walk  without  a  stick?" 
he  said. 

"But  you  can  cut  one,"  I  replied.  Then  the  little 
girl  said: 

"Little  Father,  take  my  stick."  I  accepted  it,  say- 
ing: "Thank  you.  Here  is  a  ruble"  [equivalent  to 
51.5  cents]. 

The  old  man  pushed  the  little  girl  back,  exclaim- 

"That  one 's  no  good.  I  will  sell  you  mine  for 
twenty  copeks."  [The  copek  is  worth  about  half  a 

The  little  girl  refused  to  accept  the  ruble,  so  I  said 
to  her,  "Just  because  you  have  refused  to  accept  one 
ruble  I  shall  give  you  two,"  and  I  went  on  my  way. 
The  stick  was  nothing  but  a  broken  branch  from  a 
tree,  and  not  too  straight,  but  believing  that,  as  it 
was  given  to  me  from  a  generous  and  pure  heart,  it 
would  be  a  talisman,  I  carried  it  everywhere.  When 
I  received  news  that  the  czar  wished  to  see  me,  I 
decided  to  take  the  little  stick  with  me.  Now,  on  my 
arrival  at  the  palace  the  lackeys  looked  at  it  curi- 
ously, as  though  it  were  something  very  precious. 
Doubtless  such  a  thing  had  never  been  seen  there 
before.     The  czar's  palace,  I  must  tell  the  reader,  is 



z  2 

o    . 

S  S 

N       - 

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<  c3 

>-  -E 
<;    e3 

"  O 

b  >> 

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CB    S 

a   o 

Q  ^ 

X  o 

W  d 
►J  in 

<  bC 

fc  .5 

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K  -.2 



"THE  MAD  MONK"  77 

extremely  long,  and  going  and  coming  I  was  con- 
ducted the  entire  length.  And  hear  what  happened 
to  my  stick.  At  the  last  moment,  as  I  was  taking  my 
leave,  I  remembered  that  I  had  left  it  in  the  czar's 
reception  room.  I  asked  one  of  the  servants  to  fetch 
it  for  me.  From  my  waiting-place  at  the  left  en- 
trance I  could  observe  two  servants  with  the  utmost 
dignity  carrying  this  much-glorified  stick  the  whole 
distance  from  the  opposite  end  of  the  palace. 

But  to  return  to  my  story.  The  czar  had  a  favor- 
ite pose  in  which  he  received  visitors.  He  stood 
beside  a  cabinet,  looking  out  of  the  window  into  the 
garden.  As  I  entered  his  "work-room"  he  turned 
and  stepped  toward  me.  I,  being  a  priest,  he  kissed 
my  hand,  and  I  kissed  his. 

The  czar  seemed  to  me  a  man  without  a  tongue, 
weak  and  nervous.  He  could  scarcely  articulate;  his 
voice  was  uncertain  and  muffled,  and  had  a  sepulchral 
sound.  His  eyes  were  dull,  misty  and  filled  with 

Stammering  and  stuttering,  he  asked  me : 

"Why  do  you  attack  my  ministers?" 

"Because  they  deserve  it." 

"Don't  attack  them; — attack  the  revolutionists 
and  the  Jews." 

"They  are  all  guilty." 

"Of  course;  but  do  not  attack  my  ministers.  They 
have  enough  enemies  as  it  is." 

Then  the  czar  inquired  about  my  work  at  Tsaritzin 
and  asked  if  there  was  anything  I  desired  of  him 

78        THE  MAD  MONK  OF  RUSSIA 

either  for  myself  or  for  my  friends.  I  asked  him 
to  take  away  from  the  Don  Kalmucks  and  give  to  the 
Cossacks  a  certain  well  which,  according  to  an  old 
legend,  had  been  dug  out  by  the  Slavonic  saints  Cyril 
and  Methodius.  I  told  him  of  a  monastery  the  con- 
struction of  which  was  being  held  up  for  lack  of 
funds.  Then  I  mentioned  the  names  of  several  men 
who,  I  thought,  were  deserving  of  higher  places. 

Shaking  his  left  arm  convulsively  all  the  time,  as  if 
it  were  not  his  own,  Nicholas  made  one  and  the  same 
answer  to  all  my  petitions. 

"Yes ;  very  well.  I  '11  do  everj^thing.  Leave  me 
the  addresses  of  your  friends." 

And  right  there  in  his  chamber  I  wrote  down  the 
addresses  and  made  a  note  of  the  location  of  the  well, 
thinking  meanwhile  to  myself,  "Nicholas  will  not 
keep  any  of  his  promises."  And  I  guessed  right. 
He  did  not  keep  one. 

Before  taking  leave  of  the  czar  I  begged  him  to  let 
me  see  the  heir  apparent.  My  request  was  complied 

The  czarevitch  did  not  exactly  walk  into  the  room 
where  I  was  waiting  for  him;  he  was  pushed  in.  It 
was  his  older  sister,  the  Grand  Duchess  Olga,  who 
pushed  him  in  with  her  knee.  When  she  pushed  him 
close  enough  to  me,  I  said: 

"How  are  you,  your  Highness?" 

He  made  no  reply,  but  tried  his  best  to  hide 
behind  his  sister's  skirt.     He  wore  a  plain  white  suit 

"THE  MAD  MONK"  79 

and  was  barefooted.  His  feet  and  hands  were  cov- 
ered with  sand.     His  knickerbockers  were  soiled. 

I  asked  him  another  question: 

"Your  Highness,  I  have  many  little  friends  in 
Tsaritzin.     What  shall  I  tell  them  in  your  name?" 

Aliosha  still  hid  himself  behind  his  sister's  skirt, 
and  she  began  to  disentangle  him  from  the  folds  of 
her  dress.  While  doing  this  she  prompted  him  to 
answer  me,  "Give  my  greetings  to  them."  Then  he 
held  out  his  hand  to  me,  quickly  repeated  "Greet- 
ings," and  ran  out  of  the  room.  He  was  then  eight 
years  of  age. 

As  I  was  going  out  I  was  informed  that  the  czar 
desired  me  to  conduct  a  service  at  seven  o'clock  in  the 
chapel  comiected  with  the  palace.  It  was  Saturday, 
and  evening  was  already  falling.  I  was  taken  di- 
rectly to  the  chapel,  where  I  found  the  whole  court 

I  went  at  once  to  the  altar.  My  interview  had  not 
left  me  with  a  light  heart,  and  in  my  depressed  imag- 
ination the  courtiers,  in  their  gold-embroidered  uni- 
forms covered  with  decorations,  appeared  to  me  in 
some  way  like  demons.  One  of  these  approached  me 
and  said  with  great  severity,  "Be  very  sure  in  your 
sermon  not  to  lecture  the  czar."  I  made  a  deep  obei- 
sance, remembering  the  words  of  the  Gospel,  to  be 
"wise  as  the  serpent  and  innocent  as  the  dove." 
Barely  had  I  time  to  take  three  steps  when  another 
courtier  emerged  from  the  brilliant  assemblage,  say- 

80         THE  MAD  MONK  OF  RUSSIA 

ing,  "If  you  read  your  sermon,  do  not  gesticulate." 
I  bowed  still  lower.  As  I  entered  the  altar,  a  third — 
it  was  the  Grand  Duke  John  Konstantinovich  said — 
"Remember  that,  according  to  the  court  etiquette, 
no  priest  is  expected  to  preach  longer  than  seven 
minutes."  Upon  this  I  made  a  profound  obeisance, 
almost  touching  my  forehead  to  the  floor,  and  silently 
prayed  to  God  for  divine  help  against  these  demons. 

Then  the  czar  entered,  surrounded  by  his  entour- 
age. My  sermon  lasted  seventeen  minutes.  After 
the  sermon  I  escorted  the  czar  out  of  the  chapel.  He 
took  my  hand  and  said,  "It  was  a  great  joy  to  pray 
to  the  Lord  under  your  guidance."  And  this,  I  was 
told,  was  what  he  said  to  the  officers  the  next  dav  at 
luncheon:  "Iliodor  spoke  rather  a  long  time,  but  had 
he  spoken  for  another  hour  it  would  still  have  given 
me  great  pleasure  to  listen  to  him." 

The  courtiers  who  had  heard  my  sermon  told  me 
after  the  service:  "We  trembled  all  the  time  you 

"Why?"  I  asked. 

"^When  you  began  to  speak  of  royal  palaces  we 
feared  you  were  going  to  censure  the  czar." 

Perhaps  it  will  be  in  place  to  quote  here  a  few 
passages  from  this  "terrible"  sermon  of  mine.  I 
said  in  part  as  follows : 

Where  art  Thou,  O  Lord?     Where  art  Thou? 

I  shall  rise  above  the  earth  on  the  wings  of  my  spirit,  I 
shall  descend  to  the  depths  of  the  ocean,  I  shall  penetrate 
into  the  bowels  of  the  earth  in  quest  of  Thee,  O  God.     I  see 

"THE  MAD  MONK"  81 

how  men  who  surpass  wild  beasts  in  cruelty  murder  one  an- 
other in  their  madness.  And  on  account  of  this  struggle  the 
earth  feeds  itself  on  human  flesh,  and  the  rivers  flow  to  the 
brim  with  human  blood. 

Where  art  Thou,  O  Lord?     Where  art  Thou? 

I  enter  the  lonely  cottages  of  the  poor,  and  there  I  find 
Thee  not.  Only  despair  prevails  there.  Embittered  are  the 
hearts  of  the  hut-dwellers,  and  a  muffled  cry  for  help  escapes 
from  their  lips  and  rises  up  to  heaven.  I  behold  the  splen- 
did chambers  of  the  rich  and  powerful,  but  even  there  I  find 
not  the  promised  rest.  Their  bellies  are  full,  but  their  souls 
starve.  And  that  is  why  the  hearts  of  the  rich  and  the 
powerful  are  deaf  to  the  sufferings  of  their  fellow-men. 
They  devote  extraordinary  attention  to  their  pet  dogs,  but 
they  treat  with  indifi'erence  the  poor  who  beg  at  their  win- 
dows. Gold  glitters  there  and  offers  its  owners  pleasure. 
And,  blinded  by  the  gold,  they  see  not  that  it  is  not  the  gold 
that  glitters,  but  the  tears  of  the  poor  seamstress  who  sits 
at  her  work  from  early  in  the  morning  till  late  at  night  and 
longs  for  the  green  meadows,  for  the  sun,  for  the  woods. 

Where  art  Thou,  O  Lord?     Where  art  Thou? 

Finally  I  ascend  to  the  palaces  of  the  earthly  rulers,  the 
czars  and  the  kings.  And,  lo !  even  there  I  find  no  happiness, 
no  peace,  no  rest.  The  czars  are  beset  with  cares  as  numer- 
ous as  the  billows  of  the  ocean.  The  czars  have  as  many 
enemies  as  there  are  devils  in  hell.  The  czar's  own  body- 
guards are  often  their  assassins.  And  what  about  intrigues, 
the  court  intrigues?  Ah,  is  their  life  not  like  that  of  one  in 
a  damp  cellar  full  of  venomous  and  abhorrent  vermin? 

Where  art  Thou,  O  Lord?     Where  art  Thou? 

And  God's  voice  replies  to  our  conscience,  saying:  "I  am 
with  you.  I  have  always  been  with  you,  I  am  with  you  now, 
and  I  shall  be  with  you  forever.  I  am  near  you,  and  I  knock 
at  the  doors  of  your  heart.  But  you  open  them  not.  You 
have  hung  on  your  hearts  locks  of  cruelty,  malice,  greediness, 

82        THE  MAD  MONK  OF  RUSSIA 

selfishness,  and  violence.  You  run  hither  and  thither.  You 
seek  me  in  various  ways,  but  you  find  me  not  in  the  right 
manner,  in  the  right  place.  I  am  good  and  modest.  I  am 
selfless.     I  am  poor.     I  am — Love. 


Even  while  I  was  preaching  there  began  to  pass 
through  my  mind  another  sermon  wholly  unhke  this 
one.  Standing  in  the  middle  of  the  church,  I  ob- 
served Nicholas,  whose  back  was  turned  toward  me. 
I  contemplated  his  short,  sunburned  neck;  his  small 
head,  with  its  closely  cropped  hair;  his  narrow  shoul- 
ders; his  small,  awkward  figure,  his  red  coat  with  its 
epaulets;  and  his  large  military  boots.  I  looked  at 
him,  and  I  thought:  "Is  this  the  ruler  over  one  hun- 
dred and  eighty  million  human  beings?  Is  it  really 
possible  that  this  little  man  is  the  czar  of  the  greatest 
empire  in  the  world?     No;  it  is  unthinkable." 

And  I  turned  around  and  beheld  a  group  of  gor- 
geously attired  courtiers,  all  in  orders,  with  proud 
chests,  tall  of  stature,  well  fed,  with  strange,  unnat- 
ural expressions  in  their  eyes.  I  looked  at  them  and 
thought:  "They  are  the  actual  rulers,  the  real  czars 
of  the  Russian  people ;  not  any  of  them  alone  but  all 
together.  They  constitute  the  power  that  lords  it 
over  the  many  millions  of  the  Russian  people.  Their 
collective  mind,  their  collective  will,  is  the  real  auto- 
crat of  the  great  Russian  Empire.  As  for  Nicholas, 
he  is  only  a  puppet,  a  figurehead  that  the  church  has 
placed  on  a  pedestal  of  divine  greatness  in  order  to 
make  the  people  fear  and  obey  the  powers  that  be." 

Wrath  against  Nicholas  kindled  in  my  soul,  and 

"THE  MAD  MONK"  83 

then  I  began  to  pity  him.  I  recollected  what  Ras- 
putin had  told  me  about  the  czar's  life,  and  what 
his  ministers  had  told  me,  and  at  once  the  czar's  bur- 
densome loneliness  and  powerlessness  became  clear 
to  me.  I  recalled  through  how  many  empty  roads 
and  iron  gates  guarded  by  soldiers  I  had  been  con- 
ducted to  him.  I  saw  with  what  expressions  of  fear 
the  soldiers  in  the  church  looked  at  him.  I  watched 
the  flashing  glances  of  the  courtiers  in  which  lurked 
pride,  fear,  and  flattery.  And  I  thought:  "The  czar 
never  sees  a  simple,  candid  glance.  Is  it  to  be  won- 
dered at,  therefore,  that  ordinary  peasants  like  Ras- 
putin and  the  other  'saints'  of  the  court  overpower 
him  with  their  foolish,  but  frank  and  candid,  words, 
and  influence  him  in  such  an  astonishing  way?" 

Five  days  after  my  audience  with  the  czar  and  the 
sermon  I  delivered  in  his  chapel  Nicholas  issued  an 
imperial  decree  ordering  my  promotion  to  the  rank 
of  archimandrite,  or  head  of  a  monastery  from  the 
ranks  of  which  all  bishops  are  selected. 

Nicholas  issued  the  decree,  and  the  newspapers, 
with  imperial  sanction,  announced  it.  And  Bishop 
Hermogenes,  my  greatly  loved  superior,  congratu- 
lated me  upon  the  monarch's  grace.  But  I  never 
received  the  reward.  To  answer  that  question  is  to 
tell  the  whole  story  of  my  relations  with  Rasputin. 
The  saint  gave  and  the  saint  took  away.  And  the 
reason  was  very  simple.  Having  come  to  visit  me  at 
Tsaritzin  late  in  June,  as  I  shall  tell  more  in  detail  in 
the  second  part  of  this  book,  Rasputin  observed  that 

84        THE  MAD  MONK  OF  RUSSIA 

I  had  become,  as  indeed  I  had  and  for  the  best  of 
reasons,  "irreverent"  to  his  high  position.  He  ob- 
served it,  I  say,  and  this  is  what  he  wrote  in  conse- 
quence to  the  imperial  family : 

"Darling  Papa  and  Mama,  Iliodorushka  has  got  rather 
spoiled.  He  does  n't  obey.  Take  your  time  about  the  miter 
for  him.  Let  it  go.  We  '11  see  afterward.  He  would  be  all 
right,  but  he  obeys  Hermogenes.     We  must  be  careful. 

This  was  taken  from  Lochtina's  diaries. 

But  in  order  to  explain  all  this  I  must  go  back  and 
tell  my  readers  how  my  connection  with  Rasputin  be- 
gan. I  must  say  something  about  his  early  life  and 
show  how  he  attained  his  unrivaled  power  over  the 
destinies  of  Russia;  and  in  order  to  do  this  I  must 
describe  in  some  detail  the  corruption  of  the  imperial 
court.  Then  my  reader  will  see  how  inevitable  it 
was  that  I  became  the  bitterest  enemy  of  Rasputin, 
and  why  I  fell  from  power  and  was  obhged  to  flee 
for  my  life. 






In  November  or  December,  1902,  when  I,  then  a 
student  of  the  Petrograd  Theological  Academy,  was 
zealously  preparing  myself  to  take  the  habit,  a  rumor 
became  current  among  the  students  that  somewhere 
in  Siberia,  in  the  governments  of  Tomsk  and 
Tobolsk,  there  had  appeared  a  great  prophet,  clair- 
voyant, miracle-worker,  and  ascetic  by  the  name  of 

The  discussions  regarding  the  new  prophet  were 
many  and  varied.  In  the  students'  circles  grouped 
around  that  true  ascetic,  the  inspector  of  the  acad- 
emy. Archimandrite  Theophanes,  nothing  definite 
was  said,  but  all  the  talks  of  the  unsophisticated 
youths  revealed  an  unaccountable  veneration  for  the 
unknown  saint.  I  was  too  busy  to  pay  much  atten- 
tion to  these  rumors,  but  there  were  moments  when 
the  thought  of  the  new  wonder-worker  would  become 
predominant  in  my  mind.  My  interest  was  excited 
by  the  speeches  of  my  spiritual  adviser  and  initiator 
into  monastic  life.  Father  Theophanes.  On  one  oc- 
casion, while  we  were  sitting  in  his  apartment  drink- 
ing tea  and  conversing  about  religious  matters, 
Father  Theophanes  happened  to  mention  "God's 
man,  Gregory." 

"Yes,"  said  he,  "God's  men  still  exist  on  earth. 

88        THE  MAD  MONK  OF  RUSSIA 

To  this  day  our  Holy  Russia  abounds  in  saints.  God 
sends  consolation  to  His  people  from  time  to  time  in 
the  guise  of  righteous  men,  and  they  are  the  main- 
stays of  Holy  Russia." 

I  recollect  that  I,  who  usually  listened  eagerly  to 
every  word  of  my  tutor  Theophanes,  pricked  up  my 
ears  when  he  began  to  speak  of  contemporary  godly 

"At  present  God  is  sending  such  a  man  from  dis- 
tant Siberia.  Lately  a  certain  eminent  archiman- 
drite arrived  from  there  and  said  that  in  the  govern- 
ment of  Tobolsk,  in  the  village  of  Poksrovskoye,  there 
dwell  three  devout  brothers,  Elias,  Nicholas,  and 
Gregory.  Gregory  is  the  eldest,  and  the  first  two 
are  his  pupils,  not  having  as  yet  attained  the  highest 
stage  of  moral  perfection.  The  three  brothers  sat 
once  in  a  peasant's  cottage  grieving  that  God  would 
not  send  His  blessed  rain  upon  the  earth.  Gregory 
left  the  table  and  prayed  for  a  moment.  Then  he 
said  firmly,  'There  will  be  no  rain  for  three  months 
to  come,  till  the  very  Feast  of  the  Intercession  of  the 
Holy  Virgin.'  And  so  it  happened.  There  was  no 
rain,  and  the  bad  crops  made  the  people  sorrowful. 
Lord!  Lord!"  concluded  Father  Theophanes,  with  a 
deep  sigh. 

His  words  filled  me  with  emotion.  I  was  pene- 
trated with  a  desire  to  see  the  godly  man  and  reveal 
to  him  the  worst  and  the  best  of  my  innermost  being. 
I  could  not  restrain  myself,  and  asked  my  spiritual 

©  Underwood  &  Underwood 

(About   1902) 


"Is  the  saint  coming  here?" 

"He  is,  he  is.  A  certain  archimandrite  has  prom- 
ised to  bring  him.     We  expect  him." 

Months  passed.  I  was  busy  with  my  affairs  and 
had  no  opportunity  to  hear  what  was  spoken  of  the 
saint.  In  the  Lent  of  1903,  the  chief  of  the  Korean 
Mission,  Archimandrite  Chrisanthes  Schetkivsky, 
who  died  three  years  later  as  the  bishop  of  Elizabeth- 
grad,  came  from  Siberia  to  the  academy.  Through- 
out the  academy  rumors  became  current  that  the 
archimandrite  had  brought  to  Petrograd  the  great 
saint  Gregory,  that  Gregory  had  abeady  paid  a  visit 
to  the  rector,  Bishop  Sergius  Stragorodsky,  and  that 
a  few  students  had  seen  him  and  had  their  fortunes 
read.  These  rumors  upset  me,  and  I  began  zeal- 
ously to  search  in  every  nook  and  corner  of  the  acad- 
emy in  the  hope  of  seeing  the  godly  man.  I  did  not 
succeed,  and  the  question  why  I  solved  in  a  very 
plain,  rapid  monastic  manner,  "I  am  unworthy." 

On  November  29,  1903,  I  took  the  habit.  They 
changed  my  name  from  Sergius  to  Iliodor.  On  De- 
cember 16  of  the  same  year  I  was  passing  through 
the  dimly  lighted  academy  hallway  with  lowered 
eyes,  as  became  a  new  monk,  according  to  the  teach- 
ings of  the  holy  fathers,  when  suddenly  somebody 
very  softly  tapped  me  on  the  shoulder.  I  raised  my 
eyes  and  saw  Father  Theophanes,  with  an  unpleas- 
antly simpering  peasant  beside  him. 

"This  is  Father  Gregory  from  Siberia,"  shyly  re- 
marked Theophanes,  pointing  to  the  peasant,  who 

92        THE  MAD  MONK  OF  RUSSIA 

was  treading  with  his  feet  on  one  spot  as  if  on  the 
point  of  darting  ofiP  in  a  wild  gallop. 

"Ah,  ah,  ah,"  I  stammered  in  embarrassment,  hold- 
ing out  my  hand  to  the  peasant.  We  kissed  each 

Gregory  was  dressed  in  a  cheap,  greasy,  gray  coat 
the  skirts  of  which  bulged  out  in  front  like  two  old 
leather  mittens.  His  pockets  were  inflated  like  those 
of  a  beggar  who  deposits  therein  any  eatables  that 
are  given  to  him.  His  trousers,  no  less  shabby  than 
the  coat,  hung  down  over  the  coarse  legs  of  his  peas- 
ant boots,  abundantly  blackened  with  tar,  and  the 
seat  of  his  trousers  flapped  like  a  torn  old  hammock. 
The  hair  on  the  saint's  head  was  roughly  combed  in 
one  direction;  his  beard  looked  like  a  piece  of  sheep- 
skin pasted  to  his  face  to  complete  its  repulsive 
ugliness.  His  hands  were  pock-marked  and  unclean, 
and  there  was  much  dirt  under  his  long  and  somewhat 
turned-in  nails.  His  entire  body  emitted  an  inde- 
terminate, disagreeable  smell. 

Gregory,  having  kissed  me,  surveyed  me  fixedly 
with  his  eyes,  then  moved  his  thick,  blue,  sensual  lips, 
from  which  his  mustache  protruded  hke  two  worn- 
out  brushes,  slapped  my  shoulder  with  one  hand, 
keeping  the  fingers  of  the  other  at  his  mouth,  and 
addressing  Theophanes  with  a  kind  of  ingratiating, 
unnatural  smile,  remarked: 

"He  prays  well,  very  well." 

Theophanes  then  took  his  arm,  and  they  went  to 
the  inspector's  apartments,  while  I,  amazed  by  the 


unexpected  meeting  with  the  celebrated  prophet,  re- 
turned to  my  humble  cell.  On  the  way  there  and 
while  in  the  cell  I  kept  thinking:  "So  this  is  what  he 
is  like,  the  saint.  So  this  is  the  prophet.  How  dirty 
he  is !  But  our  Lord  Christ  and  the  apostles  and  the 
ascetics  had  no  external  splendor,  and  dwelt  in  pov- 
erty. Begone,  Satan!  Leave  me  alone!  I  have 
hardly  had  time  to  meet  a  saintly  man,  and  you  are 
here  as  if  I  had  sent  for  you.  The  accursed  enemy 
endeavors  to  make  the  saint  repulsive  to  me."  And 
to  make  up  for  my  sinful  thoughts,  I  made  thirty 
genuflections,  and  continued  thinking  about  the 
prophet  until  the  devil  seemed  to  have  left  me  alone 
and  vexed  me  no  longer. 

Thus  began  my  fateful  acquaintance  with  Ras- 

The  year  1904  arrived.  In  January,  Antonius, 
Archbishop  of  Volhynia,  came  to  Petrograd.  As  he 
was  considered  a  gi'eat  friend  and  patron  of  monk- 
hood, they  took  me,  a  young  man  unacquainted  with 
the  distinguished  bishop,  to  his  apartments  at  the 
monastery  for  a  visit.  There  I  saw  a  large  crowd 
of  people  of  different  ranks  and  professions.  They 
all  attentively  listened  to  Antonius.  In  the  course 
of  the  conversation,  Gregory  Rasputin  was  men- 
tioned. Much  was  spoken  about  him.  Antonius 

"Don't  believe  him.  He 's  an  imposter ;  think  of 
his  doings  in  Kazan.  A  man  of  his  type  cannot 
possibly  be  a  saint." 

94        THE  MAD  MONK  OF  RUSSIA 

As  I  knew  Antonius  was  a  man  fond  of  talking 
scandal,  what  he  said  about  Rasputin  passed  out  of 
my  mind. 

In  May,  1904,  I  was  passing  through  the  upper 
story  of  the  academy  building,  going  along  the  hall 
from  a  cell  adjacent  to  the  altar,  when  from  another 
cell  just  over  the  staircase  a  peasant  jumped  out  in 
the  strangest  fashion,  as  if  crouching.  The  odd  crea- 
ture ran  down-stairs,  touching  the  walls  in  a  curious 
way  with  his  outspread  fingers.  While  running  he 
seemed  to  be  making  queer  leaps,  trj^ing,  like  a  satyr, 
to  keep  his  heels  in  front  of  his  body.  The  peasant 
seemed  rather  suspicious  to  me,  but  at  the  same  time 
somehow  familiar.  The  thought  possessed  me  that 
I  had  seen  him  somewhere — his  clotty  beard,  his  gray, 
turbid  eyes,  the  flapping  seat  of  his  trousers.  Un- 
able to  contain  myself  any  longer,  I  asked  the  monk 
from  whose  cell  he  had  dived  out : 

"It 's  the  celebrated  saint  Gregory,"  was  the  an- 

At  Easter,  1905,  I,  then  a  senior  in  the  academy, 
went  in  to  see  Father  Theophanes.  On  the  bureau 
at  which  Theophanes  used  to  write  I  perceived  a 
costly  ikon,  "The  Resurrection  of  Christ."  The- 
ophanes, pointing  to  the  ikon,  said: 

"This  was  sent  to  me  a  while  ago  by  the  Grand 
Duchess  Militza  Nicolaievna  and  her  husband  Peter 
Nicolaievitch.  I  visited  them  today  with  the  vener- 
able Gregory." 

I  made  ready  to  listen  to  what  Theophanes  had  to 


tell  about  the  saint,  having  heard  nothing  about  him 
in  a  long  while.  We  sat  down  to  tea.  Theophanes 
continued : 

"Many  a  time  the  saint  and  I  have  visited  the 
czar  and  especially  the  czarina.  There 's  a  godly 
man.  Even  his  speech  is  different  from  our  simple 
talk.  Once  the  czar,  the  czarina  with  the  heir  appar- 
ent on  her  arms,  he,  and  I  sat  down  in  the  palace 
dining-room.  We  were  talking  about  the  political 
situation  in  Russia.  Suddenly  Gregory  jumped  up, 
knocked  his  fist  on  the  table,  and  stared  straight  at 
the  czar.  The  czar  was  startled,  I  was  frightened, 
the  czarina  got  up,  the  heir  apparent  burst  out  cry- 
ing, and  the  venerable  man  asked  the  czar : 

"  'Where  do  you  feel  a  throbbing,  here  or  there?' 
pointing  with  his  finger  first  to  his  forehead  and  then 
to  his  heart.     The  czar  replied,  pointing  to  his  heart : 

'"Here.  My  heart  is  beating  fast.'  'Good!'  ex- 
claimed the  saint.  When  you  are  about  to  do  some- 
thing for  Russia,  consult  your  heart,  and  not  your 
brain.     The  heart  is  more  certain  than  the  brain.' 

"The  czar  said,  'Excellent!'  and  the  czarina  kissed 
Gregory's  hand  and  said,  'Thanks;  thanks,  teacher.'  " 

In  March,  1909,  at  the  request  of  Count  Tatischev, 
governor  of  SaratofF,  and  with  the  approval  of  the 
czar  and  the  Holy  Synod,  Premier  Stolypin,  as  I 
have  related  in  an  earlier  chapter  of  this  book,  or- 
dered that  I  should  be  transferred  from  Tsaritzin  to 
Minsk.  I  went  to  Petrograd  instead  of  Minsk  to 
ask  Bishop  Theophanes,  who  had  been  promoted  to 

96        THE  MAD  MONK  OF  RUSSIA 

the  rectorship  of  the  academy,  to  ask  him  to  intercede 
with  the  czar  in  my  behalf.  I  arrived  in  the  morning 
of  the  day  before  Easter.  Theophanes  refused  to 
present  my  petition  on  the  pretext  that  it  was  dan- 
gerous to  abuse  one's  privileges  too  often.  His 
answer  discouraged  me.  I  sat  at  the  table,  not  know- 
ing what  to  do.  Theophanes  sat  opposite  me  and 
also  held  his  peace,  as  if  annoyed  by  my  presence. 

Suddenly  the  bell  rang  in  the  antechamber.  In 
less  than  a  minute  a  man  came  into  the  dining-room 
where  we  were  sitting;  he  came  in  jumping,  with 
queer  leaps  and  grimaces,  reminding  me  of  the  toy 
man  that  begins  to  jerk  his  feet,  hands,  and  head 
simultaneously  when  one  pulls  the  string  that  con- 
nects all  the  parts  of  his  figure.  He  was  elaborately 
dressed,  wearing  a  crimson-colored  Russian  shirt,  a 
belt  with  big  silk  tassels,  and  tightly  fitting  trousers 
of  expensive  black  cloth.  His  costly  patent-leather 
boots  were  highly  polished.  First  greeting  The- 
ophanes, he  turned  to  me  and  began  to  kiss  me,  say- 

"Well,  how  are  you?  How  are  you,  darling? 
Don't  worry;  everything  will  turn  out  all  right." 

It  was  Gregor}^  Rasputin.  Evidently  he  already 
knew  that  I  had  been  transferred  to  INIinsk,  and  that 
I  did  not  wish  to  go  there,  and  had  come  to  Petrograd 
to  urge  my  case. 

Gregory  sat  down  near  me,  opposite  Theophanes. 
They  looked  at  each  other,  but  neither  spoke.  It  was 
evident  that  some  misunderstanding  had  arisen  be- 


tween  them.  I  learned  later  that  it  was  due  to 
Gregory's  activities  in  "curing"  women  and  innocent 
girls  of  a  loving  disposition.  They  had  told  The- 
ophanes  about  it  in  confession,  and  he  had  insisted  that 
Gregory  abandon  his  abominable  practices.  Greg- 
ory had  objected,  and  a  deadly  combat  had  started 
between  them.  They  continued  on  speaking  terms 
only  in  the  hope  that  they  might  arrive  at  a  sufficient 
understanding  to  be  able  to  resume  visiting  the  impe- 
rial family  together.  Gregory,  however,  seeing  that 
he  was  certain  to  lose  the  friendship  of  Theophanes, 
was  seeking  new  friends  among  the  prominent  repre- 
sentatives of  the  clergy,  whom  he  needed  in  order  to 
reassure  Nicholas  and  Alexandra  during  the  attacks 
of  his  enemies.  It  was  at  the  most  opportune  mo- 
ment for  him  that  Gregory  caught  me  in  his  net. 

Having  noticed  that  Theophanes  did  not  wish  to 
speak  to  him,  Rasputin  turned  to  me,  slapped  my 
shoulder,  and  inquired: 

"Well,  my  friend,  why  so  down-hearted,  eh?  You 
would  like  to  go  back  to  Tsaritzin,  would  n't  you?" 

"I  should  like  to  very  much  indeed,"  I  answered. 
"All  my  life  is  there.  What  shall  I  be  able  to  accom- 
plish if  they  keep  chasing  me  like  a  dog  from  one 
place  to  another?" 

Theophanes  availed  himself  of  the  opportunity 
and  hastily  left  the  room.  Gregory  and  I  remained 

"Very  well,  very  well,  darling,"  he  continued;  "you 
shall  return  to  Tsaritzin." 

98        THE  MAD  MONK  OF  RUSSIA 

"When?  In  ten  years,  when  weeds  are  growing 
on  the  grave  of  my  sacred  task?" 

"No,  no ;  it  will  happen  soon.  You  will  leave  here 
in  about  three  days,  and  not  for  Minsk,  but  for  your 
present  home." 

"How  so?  The  attorney-procurator  told  me  that 
the  czar,  at  Stolypin's  instigation,  had  twice  signed 
an  order  banishing  me  from  Tsaritzin." 

"Twice!  twice!  That  means  nothing  to  me.  You 
shall  go  back  to  Tsaritzin,  understand?  Don't 
worry  in  vain,  and  remember  Gregory.  But  there 
is  one  thing  you  must  know :  one  must  not  expose  the 
czar  and  the  Government  nowadays,  as  Philip  of 
Moscow  used  to  do.  The  times  are  different,  my 

Rasputin's  words  sounded  like  a  reply  to  my  ser- 
mon in  Tsaritzin  on  Palm  Sunday,  when  I  had  said 
that  it  was  the  duty  of  the  priests  to  unmask  all 
sinners,  no  matter  how  high  their  station  in  life.  I 
was  surprised.  "Indeed,"  I  thought,  "Rasputin 
must  be  very  clever." 

Gregory  rose  to  leave.  I  also  rose  and  made  him 
a  low  bow.  Had  any  one  suggested  that  I  should 
prostrate  myself  at  Gregory's  feet  and  kiss  them,  I 
should  have  done  so  without  stopping  to  think.  I 
felt  that  he  was  bringing  me  back  to  life  by  the  favor 
that  he  was  doing  to  me  and  to  the  thousands  of 
common  people  who,  with  tears  in  their  eyes,  had  seen 
me  leave  Tsaritzin  for  Petrograd. 

During  the  Easter  matins  in  the  seminar}^  church. 

^V>j\!kA-o-«y*-v^    /looA   (Maa^   fcxXXv  ci<y^\AA^  y  — 



•1     .^ 









Signed:  "Annushka" 


Gregory  came  over  to  me  near  the  altar,  kissed  me, 
and  said:  "You  will  get  a  letter  from  Tsarskoe  Selo 
to-morrow.  When  you  are  presented  to  the  czarina, 
tell  her  and  Viroubova  that  they  should  not  run  away 
from  matins,  but  that  they  should  remain  for  mass, 
too.  But  do  not  speak  harshly  and  loudly ;  you  may 
frighten  them." 

On  the  second  day  of  Easter  week,  having  learned 
tTiat  Rasputin  was  in  the  apartments  of  Sergius, 
Archbishop  of  Finland,  I  rang  him  up  on  the  tele- 
phone, burning  with  impatience  to  know  how  matters 
stood  regarding  my  return  to  Tsaritzin.  Sergius 
himself  answered  the  telephone.  To  my  question, 
*^May  I  speak  to  Gregory  Ephimovitch  ?"  he  an- 
swered, "He  is  reposing."  His  words  embarrassed 
me  considerably.  He  's  a  cunning  blade,  is  Raspu- 
tin," I  said  to  myself,  "if  such  a  high  dignitary  as 
Sergius  speaks  of  him  in  this  respectful  way." 

That  very  day  after  mass,  Mme.  Olga  Lochtina 
brought  me,  at  Bishop  Theophanes's  apartment  a 
letter  from  Tsarskoe  Selo.  It  was  written  by  Anna 
Viroubova,  the  czarina's  most  intimate  friend,  and 
ran  as  follows: 

With  Father  Gregory's  sanction,  Mama  will  receive  you 
to-morrow  at  9  p.  m.  in  my  apartment.  No.  2  Tzerkovnaia 
Street.  Take  the  8:30  train  from  Petrograd  for  Tsarskoe 


I  saw  the  empress  at  the  appointed  place,  and  con- 

102       THE  MAD  MONK  OF  RUSSIA 

versed  with  her  for  fifty  minutes,  as  I  related  in  the 
first  part  of  this  book.  The  day  after  this  audience 
Gregory  said  to  me: 

"Well,  darling,  I  spoke  to  the  czar  about  you.  I 
said  to  him,  'Return  Iliodorushka  to  Tsaritzin!'  And 
he  replied:  'How  can  I  do  it,  Gregory?  Did  I  not 
twice  sign  Stolypin's  order  that  Iliodor  should  be 
removed  from  Tsaritzin  to  Minsk?  If  I  cancel  my 
decision,  what  will  the  ministers  and  the  Sjniod  think 
of  me?'  And  I  blurted  out:  'Are  you  the  czar? 
Yes?'  'Yes,'  said  he.  'Well,  be  the  czar  always. 
How  did  you  sign  the  reports?  From  left  to  right? 
Yes?  Sign  now  from  right  to  left.  Revoke  your 
decision.  That  is  all.'  And  Papa  obeyed  me  and 
said:  'I  will  do  as  you  say,  but  for  the  last  time. 
Iliodor  must  know  this,  and  must  not  attack  my  gov- 
ernment and  my  ministers.'  " 

Such  was  Gregory's  report  to  me. 

That  very  day  I  spoke  over  the  telephone  with  the 
high-procurator,  S.  M.  Lukyanov. 

"Are  you  soon  leaving  Petrograd?"  asked  Lukya- 

"In  two  days." 

"ForMinsk,  of  course?" 

"No,  for  Saratoff." 

"What  do  you  mean?    You  must  go  to  Minsk." 

Instead  of  replying,  I  hung  up  the  receiver  and 
went  to  Saratoff.  Gregory  came  to  see  me  off  at  the 
Nichola'ievski  terminal. 

"The  whole  thing  is  arranged,"  he  said.     "You  will 


not  be  transferred  from  Tsaritzin.  Go  home,  con- 
sole your  children.  Remember  Gregory.  Do  not 
scold  the  Government,  but  do  all  you  can  against  the 
Jews  and  the  revolutionists.  Rasputin  left  the  car- 
riage; the  train  pulled  out.  I  felt  like  bursting  into 
tears  of  gratitude  to  Gregory  Ephimovitch.  In  that 
moment  he  was  like  an  angel  and  even  more;  he 
seemed  to  be  the  right  hand  of  my  Saviour. 

At  Saratoff  I  received  a  telegram  from  Viroubova : 

The  case  is  progressing.     Anna. 

Twenty  days  later,  as  my  readers  will  recall,  I  re- 
ceived the  ukase  from  the  Holy  Synod  raising  the 
siege  of  my  monastery  and  permitting  me  to  remain 
at  Tsaritzin.  The  following  resolution  of  the  czar 
was  quoted  in  the  ukase: 

I  permit  the  priest  Iliodor  to  return  to  Tsaritzin  on  pro- 
bation for  the  last  time. 


Such  was  the  power  of  Rasputin  both  in  the  church 
and  the  state.  In  this  instance  he  proved  himself  not 
only  the  czar,  but  the  patriarch  also,  and  thus,  not 
having  been  warned  by  Theophanes,  who  already 
knew  about  the  Rasputin  "exploits,"  I  accepted  fa- 
vors from  this  man  that  were  to  prove  fateful  for  me 
and,  I  think,  for  the  whole  of  Russia. 

In  September,  1909,  in  Tsaritzin,  I  received  a  letter 
from  Bishop  Hermogenes  of  Saratoff,  asking  me 
to  come  to  him  to  see  my  dear  friend  Gregory  Ephim- 

104       THE  MAD  MONK  OF  RUSSIA 

ovitch  Rasputin.  I  went  there.  Rasputin  came  two 
days  later.  I  met  him  near  the  prelate's  house.  He 
was  smartly  dressed  in  an  expensive  fall  overcoat  and 
a  soft  hat.     As  soon  as  he  entered  the  house  he  said: 

"What  do  you  think  of  this,  brother?  The  gen- 
darmes played  a  trick  on  me.  At  Kamishlov,  as  soon 
as  the  train  stopped,  they  woke  me  up  and  took  me 
to  the  office.  The  officer  wanted  to  see  my  passport. 
I  showed  it  to  him,  and  they  released  me,  and  every- 
body around  laughed.  People  thought  I  was  a  mur- 
derer. All  this  is  Stolypin's  doings.  He  was  a 
friend  of  mine,  but  since  I  crossed  his  will  for  your 
sake,  he  has  been  angry  with  me.  Sit  down  now  and 
write  a  telegram  to  the  gendarme's  officer.  Say  that 
I,  Gregory  Rasputin  the  New,  am  sitting  now  in 
the  apartments  of  Bishop  Hermogenes  and  that  I 
ask  him  what  right  he  had  to  trouble  me  at  Kamish- 

All  this  he  uttered  in  great  agitation.  It  was  obvi- 
ous that  he,  the  prophet  of  the  Court,  was  very  much 
piqued  by  the  gendarmes'  presumption.  I  composed 
the  telegi-am  as  he  instructed  me.  Rasputin  took  it 
and  went  himself  to  send  it  off. 

Before  I  left  Saratoff,  Rasputin  promised  to  come 
to  visit  me,  together  with  Hermogenes,  at  some  time 
in  the  autumn,  in  November.  My  imagination  was 
full  of  the  great  reception  my  parishioners  and  I 
would  arrange  for  my  friend  and  benefactor.  As 
the  month  of  November  approached  I  began  to  pre- 
pare for  my  guests.    I  told  the  people  something 


about  the  saint  and  how  he  had  been  instrumental  in 
returning  me  from  Minsk  to  Tsaritzin.  Everybody 
became  interested  in  Rasputin's  personahty. 

On  November  19,  1909,  at  noon,  Hermogenes 
came  to  Tsaritzin,  bringing  Gregory  along  with  him. 
They  stopped  at  the  house  of  the  merchant's  wife, 
Tarakanova,  proceeding  thence  to  the  convent  church, 
where  services  were  being  performed  to  celebrate 
my  name-day.  Hermogenes  ascended  the  tribune 
and  addressed  the  people,  and  Gregoiy  stood  among 
the  people,  near  the  women.  Never  before  or  after- 
wards did  he  seem  to  me  so  unpleasant  as  then.  He 
wore  a  black,  dyed,  short  sheepskin  cloak;  the  dye 
had  blackened  his  hands  until  they  were  as  dirty  as  a 
fireman's.  There  was  something  cold,  gliding,  un- 
clean about  his  glance.  Unnaturally  stretched  out, 
he  stood  above  the  crowd,  his  dirty  hands  on  the  heads 
of  the  women  in  front  of  him,  and  with  his  chin  raised 
so  that  his  beard  stood  out  at  right  angles  to  his  body, 
he  looked  about  him  with  his  turbid  eyes.  When 
Hermogenes  finished  his  sermon,  I,  combatting  the 
feeling  of  utter  disgust  for  the  saint,  and  mentally 
blaming  it  all  on  the  devil's  wiles,  invited  Rasputin 
to  the  tribune  and  said  to  the  people: 

"Children,  here  is  our  benefactor.     Thank  him." 

The  people,  as  one  man,  bowed  to  Rasputin,  ex- 
claiming, "Save,  O  Lord!     Save,  O  Lord." 

Nevertheless,  when  upon  returning  home  I  asked 
my  lay  brother  Emilian  what  impression  Rasputin 
had  made,  Emilian  said: 

106       THE  MAD  MONK  OF  RUSSIA 

"Well,  the  people  say  bad  things.  Although  they 
bowed  before  Brother  Gregory  in  the  church,  they 
were  saying  to  one  another  as  they  went  out,  'What 
do  you  think  of  the  master's  keeping  company  with 
such  a  scoundrel?'  " 

The  people's  opinion  of  the  "saint"  stuck  in  my 
mind,  after  that,  like  an  icicle.  I  remembered  how, 
during  my  visit  in  Petrograd,  Gregory  had  invited 
me  to  visit  the  grave  of  John  of  Kronstadt,  and  how, 
walking  along  the  Lavra  Park,  he  had  not  let  a  single 
woman  pass  without  piercing  her  with  his  fixed,  per- 
sistent glance.  When  we  met  a  rather  good-looking 
woman,  he  remarked:  "That's  a  fine  woman;  she 
must  be  going  to  see  some  monk.  You  know,  a  monk 
can't  get  along  without  a  woman."  I  kept  still,  lis- 
tening to  his  indecent  words.  I  cared  little  just  then 
whether  or  not  it  behooved  God's  saint  to  speak  in 
this  fashion.  I  was  too  deeply  absorbed  in  reverence 
for  my  heaven-sent  benefactor.  Later  I  discovered 
that  he  had  found  in  Tsaritzin,  under  my  very  nose, 
a  virgin  field  for  his  "saintly"  activities. 

Gregory  was  highly  pleased  with  his  reception 
among  my  people.  Following  in  his  own  fashion  the 
sacred  precedent  established  by  the  hojy  Efren  Siren 
he  had  bestowed  a  kiss  upon  every  female  among  my 
votaries.  He  became  so  sentimental  thaf  once,  in 
mv  cell,  he  said  to  me : 

"Well,  my  friend,  write  to  Papa  and  Mama  that 
thousands  follow  me  here.  Yes,  tell  them  to  hurry 
up  and  send  you  a  miter." 


"I  dare  not  write  to  czar,  especially  about  a  reward 
for  myself." 

"You  're  a  funny  fellow;  write  in  my  name." 

"But  the  handwriting  will  be  mine.  No,  I  can- 

"All  right,  I  '11  do  it  myself."  He  sat  down,  and 
this  is  what  he  wrote : 

"Dear  Papa  and  Mama:  It  is  tremendous  over 
here;  thousands  of  people  are  following  me.  And 
Iliodor  wants  a  miter." 

"Don't  write  about  me!    Don't!"  I  objected. 

"Well,  well,  it 's  none  of  your  business,"  he  said, 
and  later  mailed  the  letter. 

It  was  only  afterward  that  I  understood  why  he 
had  mentioned  the  "thousands."  His  enemies,  head- 
ed by  Bishop  Theophanes,  were  beginning  to  wage  a 
campaign  against  him,  and  Rasputin  was  endeavor- 
ing to  ward  off  their  efforts  by  pointing  out  his 
alleged  popularity  among  the  masses.  But  it  was 
only  for  my  sake  that  the  masses  received  him.  Ras- 
putin realized  this,  and  that  was  why  he  added  the 
"miter"  to  the  "thousands"  in  his  letter  to  the  czar 
and  czarina. 

The  kissing  days  came  to  an  end.  November  27 
arrived.  A  multitude  of  people  assembled  at  the 
monastery,  and  with  great  acclamation  saw  us  leave 
for  far  Siberia,  for  the  village  of  Poksrovskoye,  in  the 
district  of  Tumen,  government  of  Tobolsk,  the  birth- 
place of  Gregory  Rasputin;  for  I  had  agreed  to  pay 
a  visit  with  him  there.     The  journey  took  nine  days. 

108       THE  MAD  MONK  OF  RUSSIA 

As  soon  as  I  was  alone  with  him  Rasputin  began  to 
tell  me  the  most  monstrous,  fabulous  stories  of  his 
life,  every  one  of  which  I  found  subsequently  to  be 
true  and  corroborated  by  facts.  Every  now  and  then 
he  interrupted  his  talk  at  the  sight  of  women  and 
girls  in  the  railway  carriage.  He  would  then  begin 
to  stroll  to  and  fro,  peeping  into  their  compartments, 
addressing  the  good-looking  ones  and  asking  them 
idle  questions.  Sometimes  he  would  succeed  in  mak- 
ing an  acquaintance,  sometimes  not.  He  went  skip- 
ping along  the  passageway  in  his  silk  shirt,  stamp- 
ing the  floor  with  his  boots.  I  looked  at  him,  won- 
dering, and  thought,  "It  is  true  you  are  a  friend  of 
mine,  but  I  should  like  to  know  more  about  your 
being  a  prophet  and  saint." 

Here  is  what  he  told  me  on  our  journey. 

Up  to  his  thirtieth  year  he  was  a  habitual  drunk- 
ard and  libertine.  Then  he  began  to  do  penance. 
One  day  when  his  people  were  making  fun  of  him 
for  his  piety  he  suddenly  struck  his  spade  into  a  heap 
of  grain  and  went  off  for  a  pilgrimage  to  the  holy 
places.  He  traveled  for  a  whole  year,  seeing  and 
hearing;  then  he  returned  home.  He  dug  a  cave  in 
his  stall  and  prayed  to  God  for  two  weeks. 

Then  Saint  Simeon  of  Verchoturje  came  to  him  in 
a  dream,  and  said,  "Gregory,  go  and  wander  and  save 
people."  He  went.  On  the  way,  in  a  certain  house 
he  saw  the  wonder-working  ikon  at  the  Abalak 
Virgin,  which  the  monks  carried  from  village  to 
village.     Gregory  went  to  sleep  in  the  room  where  the 


ikon  was  placed  for  the  night.  Waking  up  in  the 
middle  of  the  night,  he  saw  the  ikon  and  shed  tears 
and  heard  the  following  words: 

"Gregory,  I  bewail  the  sins  of  man.  Go,  wander, 
chasten  men  for  their  sins,  and  remove  their  pas- 

Gregory  obeyed  the  Holy  Vu'gin.  He  visited 
almost  the  whole  of  Russia.  He  went  to  every  well- 
known  monastery,  and  became  acquainted  with 
priests,  monks,  nuns,  saints,  archimandrites,  bishops, 
and  finally  the  imperial  family  itself.  And  here  let 
me  quote  his  own  words: 

"I  went  to  see  Father  John  of  Kronstadt.  He 
received  me  very  cordially.  He  said,  'Wander, 
wander,  Brother.  God  has  endowed  you  with  many 
gifts;  help  men;  be  my  right  hand,  work  for  the 
cause  which  I,  the  unworthy,  am  working  for.'  I 
called  on  Barnaby,  the  saintly  old  man  of  the  Geth- 
semane  hermitage.  I  went  to  him  the  first  time  like 
a  genuine  peasant,  in  a  cheap  greasy  coat,  in  bast- 
shoes,  disheveled,  dirty,  and  he  withdrew  from  me.  I 
went  then  to  a  monastery  hostelry,  to  a  friend  of  mine, 
a  rich  merchant ;  I  put  on  his  clothes,  his  fur  coat  and 
an  expensive  hat,  took  a  bath,  combed  my  beard,  and 
returned  to  Barnaby.  As  soon  as  the  venerable  man 
noticed  me,  he  beckoned  to  me,  saying,  *Ah,  come 
here,  come  here,  my  friend.'  Then  he  blessed  and 
kissed  me  and  took  me  to  his  private  cell.  I  said  to 
him, 'Father,  I  have  deceived  you.'  'How  so?'  'Yes- 
terday I  came  to  you  in  a  peasant's  dress,  for  I  actu- 

110      THE  MAD  MONK  OF  RUSSIA 

ally  am  a  peasant,  but  you  waved  me  away.  To-day 
I  have  come  as  a  merchant,  and  vou  have  called  me  in 
and  treated  me  with  respect.'  'Ah,  ah,'  drawled  out 
the  old  man,  'you  're  a  mischief-breeder,  Gregory. 
Don't  you  know  yourself  that  it  would  not  do  to 
treat  all  the  people  equally?  There  is  one  way  for 
the  rich  and  another  for  the  poor.  The  rich  are  of 
more  use  to  us.'  " 

Of  course  most  of  what  Rasputin  told  me  had  to 
do  with  visits  to  the  czar's  family  and  how  he  spent 
his  time  with  them.  I  quote  here  a  part  of  what  he 

"Don't  imagine  that  it  is  easy  to  talk  to  rulers. 
No,  it  is  hard.  The  blood  clots  one's  lips ;  one  shrinks 
from  giving  them  counsel.  But  they  consult  me 
about  everything  the  Duma,  the  ministers.  My  en- 
emies do  not  want  me  to  be  with  the  czar's  familv, 
but  they  cannot  get  along  without  me.  It  may  be 
hard  on  them  to  have  to  listen  to  a  peasant,  but  listen 
they  do.  Once  the  czar  said,  'Be  it  so,'  and  I  replied, 
*No,  not  so.'  His  cheeks  became  flushed,  he  began 
to  tremble ;  you  see,  he  did  not  Hke  the  idea  of  obeying 
a  peasant,  but  he  obeyed  just  the  same.  He  cannot 
even  breathe  without  me,  and  keeps  on  saj^ing  to  me : 
'Gregory,  Gregory,  come  to  see  us  more  frequently; 
when  you  are  with  us  we  feel  joyous,  mirthful,  at 
ease.  Come,  but  do  not  solicit  favors  for  anybody. 
You  know  that  I  love  you  and  am  always  ready  to  do 
anything  for  you,  but  at  times  I  find  it  very  difficult 
to  fulfil  your  wishes  when  they  are  contrary  to  those 


of  the  ministers.  You  see,  they  don't  love  you, 
especially  Stolypin.'  When  I  visited  them  after  the 
suppression  of  the  revolution,  both  the  czar  and  the 
czarina  knelt  before  me  and  began  to  kiss  my  hands 
and  feet.  The  czarina  raised  her  hands  heavenward 
and  said,  with  eyes  full  of  tears,  'Gregory,  even 
though  all  the  men  on  earth  rise  against  you,  I  shall 
not  leave  you,  and  I  shall  listen  to  nobody.'  And  the 
czar,  also  raising  his  hands,  exclaimed,  'Gregory,  you 
are  Christ!'  Their  treasury  is  always  open  to  me. 
But  the  czarina  is  stingy.  If  I  take  a  thousand 
rubles,  she  does  not  mind.  She  always  gives  it  with- 
out a  word ;  but  if  I  ask  her  for  ten  thousand  or  more, 
she  hesitates,  and  begins  to  inquire:  'What  do  you 
want  the  money  for?  Where  is  it  to  go?'  However, 
once  I  satisfactorily  answer  her  questions,  she  gives 
me  as  much  as  twenty  thousand  at  a  time. 

"Once  the  czar  said  to  me :  'Gregory,  I  do  not  like 
Stolypin.  What  shall  I  do?'  *Why,  frighten  him 
with  your  simplicity,'  I  answered.  'What  do  you 
mean?'  'Put  on  the  plainest  Russian  shirt  you  have 
and  receive  him  thus  when  he  comes  to  you  with  a 
very  important  report,'  I  said.  The  czar  took  my 
advice.  Stolypin,  being  presented  to  the  czar,  re- 
marked, 'Your  Majesty,  how  plainly  you  are  dressed 
to-day.'  And  the  czar  replied  as  I  had  told  him, 
'God  Himself  abides  in  simplicity.'  Those  words 
made  Stolypin  bite  his  tongue. 

"You  would  like  to  know  how  I  got  my  last  name, 
'New'?    Once,   while   I   was   ascending  the   palace 

112       THE  MAD  MONK  OF  RUSSIA 

staircase,  the  czar  and  his  family  were  waiting  for 
me  in  the  dining-room.  The  czarina  held  the  heir  in 
her  lap.  Heretofore  he  had  never  uttered  a  word. 
Hardly  had  I  crossed  the  threshold  when  the  heir 
began  to  clasp  his  little  hands  lisping,  'New!  new! 
new!'  Those  were  his  first  words.  The  czar  there- 
fore issued  a  decree  changing  my  name  from  Ras- 
putin to  Novy  [New], 

"I  am  made  welcome  in  the  imperial  apartments, 
and  often  spend  days  with  the  czarina.  I  have  even 
carried  her  to  and  fro  like  a  baby.  I  visit  the 
children's  rooms;  I  read  the  evening  prayers  and 
sing  the  national  anthem  with  them.  I  often  play 
with  the  children.  Once  all  four  girls  together  clam- 
bered up  on  me,  and  Alexis  sat  on  my  back  and  I 
gave  them  quite  a  long  ride  in  the  nursery.  When 
they  got  off,  the  czarevitch  said:  'Forgive  us,  Greg- 
ory. We  know  that  you  are  holy  and  that  we  ought 
not  to  ride  on  you,  but  it  was  only  for  fun.' 

"^Vhen  I  visit  the  czar's  family  I  often  meet  for- 
eign kings.  Once  Prince  Nicholas  of  Montenegro 
saw  me  in  a  dream  when  he  was  ill.  He  was  in  gi'eat 
pain,  and  beheld  a  Russian  peasant,  who  said  to  him : 
'Get  well.  You  will  be  able  to  go  out  in  three  days.' 
And  so  it  happened.  He  wrote  a  letter  about  it  to 
his  daughter  Militza.  Militza  sent  him  my  picture. 
He  replied  that  I  was  the  very  peasant  he  had  seen 
in  his  dream.  While  he  was  ill,  at  the  request  of 
Militza  and  Anastasia,  his  other  daughter,  I  had  been 
ardently  praying  to  God  for  his  recovery.     When  a 


court  surgeon  was  performing  an  operation  on 
Pelagia,  my  wife,  whom  the  imperial  family  receive 
as  cordially  as  they  receive  me,  Militza  was  present 
and  held  her  hands. 

"The  czar  and  his  family  love  you  very  much,  be- 
cause in  these  revolutionary  years  you  have  always 
taken  their  part  and  denounced  the  revolutionists  and 
the  Jews.  They  say,  'Iliodor  has  acted  harshly,  but 
justly,  for  that  is  what  the  times  have  required.  But 
now  he  must  be  quieter;  peaceful  days  have  come. 
Let  him  refrain  from  attacking  the  Government. 
Tell  him  not  to  denounce  the  ministers  and  the  police.' 
All  the  four  princesses  would  like  to  come  to  Tsar- 
itzin  to  visit  you.  The  older  ones,  Olga  and  Tatiana, 
are  somewhat  shy  and  say,  'Gregory,  we  would  go 
there  this  very  moment  if  we  were  not  afraid  that  it 
might  cause  an  uproar  and  that  then  nobody  would 
marry  us.' 

"Do  you  see  this  golden  cross  I  am  wearing?  See, 
here  it  says,  'N  II.'  The  czar  gave  it  to  me.  I  expel 
devils  with  it.  On  the  way  to  you  at  Tsaritzin  I 
expelled  a  wicked  devil  from  a  woman.  It  was  on 
a  river-bank  in  the  government  of  Kazan.  The  devil 
bit  me.  Just  see  how  black  the  skin  is  under  the 
nail.  However,  I  overcame  him.  He  jumped  out 
and  escaped  under  the  ice  of  the  river.  I  wrote  a 
letter  about  this  from  Tsaritzin  to  the  czar  and  his 
family,  telling  them  not  to  listen  to  my  enemies  and 
to  remember  that  devils  fear  me.  My  enemies  think 
it  will  be  easy  to  do  away  with  me.     The  Siberian 

114       THE  MAD  MONK  OF  RUSSIA 

priests  are  furious  because  I  wear  this  cross;  but 
what  do  I  care?  The  czar  himself  gave  it  to  me,  and 
what  priest  or  prelate  can  remove  it?" 

Listening  to  Rasputin's  unaffected  narration  of 
his  extraordinary  adventures,  I  was  filled  with  won- 
der. Eight  days  flew  by,  and  we  reached  Tumen, 
where  we  stopped  at  Dmitri  Dmitrievitch's,  the 
trunk-maker's.  There  Gregory  met  an  old  acquain- 
tance, a  nun  with  a  sly  smile  on  her  pretty  face,  whom 
he  had  met  during  one  of  his  pilgrimages,  and  whom 
he  kissed  without  much  ado.  Then  he  disappeared, 
and  it  was  not  till  afterward  that  I  found  out  that 
he  had  spent  hours  with  the  trunk-maker's  daughter, 
a  very  good-looking  young  married  woman  to  whom 
he  was  in  the  habit  of  bringing  money  and  all  kinds 
of  presents  on  his  visits  from  Petrograd. 

Rasputin's  family  at  Poksrovskoye  met  me  very 
cordially  and  reverentially,  even  spreading  carpets 
from  the  gate  to  the  house.  I  met  Rasputin's  father, 
an  old,  thick-set,  typical  Siberian  peasant;  Rasputin's 
wife,  a  good-looking,  but  sickly,  woman,  who  knew 
about  her  husband's  adventures,  but  shielded  him 
out  of  mercenary  considerations;  and  his  daughter 
Varia,  a  pleasant  nine-year-old  girl  whose  mouth 
was  always  open  during  conversation.  The  older 
daughter,  Matriona,  was  then  at  Petrograd  at  school. 
His  son  Dmitri,  a  boy  of  fifteen,  was  at  Saratoff. 
Rasputin  himself  had  taken  him  there  to  study  divin- 
ity, and  had  placed  hun,  on  Bishop  Hermogenes' 
advice  with  the  steward  Votrikov.    But  the  boy,  as 


I  learned  later,  proved  to  be  very  corrupt,  did  not 
attend  the  lessons  given  him  by  an  instructor  of  the 
theological  seminary  at  the  rate  of  twenty-five  rubles 
per  month,  sang  vile  songs,  and  made  it  necessary  for 
the  steward  to  discharge  two  servant  girls  with  whom 
"Mitka"  had  permitted  himself  too  much  freedom. 
After  some  months  at  Saratoff  he  was  taken  back  to 
Poksrovskoye  to  do  manual  labor. 

Rasputin's  house  was  beautiful.     He  said  to  me: 

"Before  this,  I  owned  a  little  hut,  and  now  just 
look  at  this  big  house.  Militzia  did  all  this  for  me. 
She  gave  me  twenty-seven  hundred  rubles." 

The  rooms  were  very  well  appointed,  with  large, 
expensive  rugs,  a  multitude  of  costly  ikons  on  the 
walls,  and  all  kinds  of  luxuries,  including  several 
imperial  portraits  with  gold  crowns.  While  I,  aston- 
ished, was  examining  these  things,  Rasputin,  who 
was  following  me,  exclaimed: 

"These  portraits  the  imperial  family  themselves  or- 
dered for  me,  and  these  ikons,  Easter  eggs,  pictures, 
and  lanterns  the  czarina  has  given  me  at  various 
times.  This  rug  is  worth  six  hundred  rubles;  it  was 
sent  to  me  by  Anastasia,  wife  of  the  Grand  Duke 
Nicolas  Nicolaievitch,  because  I  sanctioned  their  mar- 
riage. Neither  Metropolitan  Anthony,  or  the  Holy 
Synod,  or  the  Patriarch  of  Constantinople,  to  whom 
Nicolas  Nicolaievitch  had  applied,  would  permit  him 
to  marry  her,  because  it  is  not  lawful  for  two  brothers 
to  marry  two  sisters.  I,  however,  gave  mj'^  permis- 
sion.   I  reasoned  it  out  in  this  way :  there  will  be  mis- 

116       THE  MAD  MONK  OF  RUSSIA 

chief,  anyhow;  therefore  why  not  bless  them?  I  did 
so  and  they  sent  me  this  rug." 

Presently  Rasputin  took  a  key  and  unlocked  a 
large  trunk,  from  wliich  he  took  out  a  packet  of 

"They  are  all  from  the  czarina,  from  the  girls,  and 
from  the  grand  duchesses  and  dukes,"  he  said. 

"Brother  Gregory,  make  me  a  present  of  a  few 
letters,"  I  begged  him. 

Rasputin  was  delighted  at  my  astonishment  and 

"All  right,  take  your  choice.  Only  leave  the  czar- 
evitch's letter.     It 's  the  only  one  I  have." 

I  selected  a  number  of  letters  from  the  czarina  and 
the  princesses.  What  I  did  with  the  original  of  the 
czarina's  letter  the  reader  will  learn  later  in  this 

The  very  first  evening  I  spent  in  Rasputin's  home 
a  characteristic  incident  took  place.  I  noticed  two 
pretty  girls  nmning  about  the  rooms.  They  zeal- 
ously performed  all  kinds  of  housework,  sang  songs, 
and  in  general  behaved  very  decently  and  quietly. 
But  hear  what  happened. 

As  I  was  going  to  bed  on  the  sofa  in  the  parlor 
they  brought  in  mattresses  and  began  to  make  their 
beds  right  near  me.  I  began  to  protest,  but  they 

"Father  Gregory  told  us  to  sleep  here." 

"No,  no,"  I  exclaimed.  "If  I  'm  in  anybody's 
way,  if  there  is  no  room  for  all,  I  '11  sleep  in  the  bath- 



Rasputin  tore  off  the  collar  and  gave  it  to  the  Czar  who  was  suffering  from  a  sore  throat.  The 
Czar  wrapped  the  "Saint's"  collar  about  his  neck,  slept  in  it  and  pronounced  his  cure  a 


house.     The  stove  has  been  made  ready  there  to-day." 
At  this  moment  Rasputin's  voice  came  from  the 
adjoining  room: 

"All  right,  all  right.  Leave  him  alone!" 
The  girls  took  their  bedclothes  and,  blushing,  left 
my  room.  Later  I  understood  that  Rasputin  had 
tried  to  tempt  me  in  order  to  tie  my  tongue  and  pre- 
vent me  from  disclosing  his  secrets.  He  used  the 
same  method  with  other  friends  of  his  who  were  fa- 
miliar with  his  misdeeds. 

Shortly  after  my  arrival,  Gregory  sent  a  telegram 
to  the  imperial  family  signing  it  with  both  our  names. 
The  court  rephed: 

"Sincere  thanks.  Pleased  with  your  greeting. 
Anna."  I  might  mention  here  that  when  he  was 
absent  from  Petrograd,  Rasputin  was  in  the  habit  of 
sending  constant  messages  to  the  czar  and  czarina, 
letters  and  telegrams,  containing  condolences,  in- 
structions, etc.  Congratulating  the  czar  in  1907 
upon  his  name-day,  he  wi'ote: 

"God  will  bless  the  name-day  with  meekness  and  with  faith. 
Steadfastness  is  in  heaven.  Papa  mine!" 

Once  when  Alexandra  fell  ill,  he  telegraphed: 

"I  hope  your  health  will  improve.  God's  blessing  is  above 
sickness.     Be  fearless  in  everything."  ^ 

Thus  he  kept  himself  constantly  in  the  minds  of  his 
protectors.  Far  or  near,  his  influence  over  them  was 
ever  active. 

iLochtina's  diaries,  in  my  possession. 

120       THE  MAD  MONK  OF  RUSSIA 

One  evening  Gregory  had  a  little  gathering  at  his 
house.  He  invited  all  the  intellectuals  of  Poksrov- 
skoye:  two  priests,  two  women  teachers  and  their 
sisters,  two  merchants,  and  others  of  the  better  class. 
The  guests  assembled  and  began  to  help  themselves 
to  refreshments,  eating  a  quantity  of  jelly  patties, 
candy,  and  cracked  nuts.  The  conversation  was 
somewhat  stiff;  especially  strange  seemed  the  de- 
meanor of  the  older  priest.  Father  Ostrouomov. 
He  said  little  and  seemed  to  be  listening  for  some- 
thing. Gregory  compelled  me  to  say  a  few  words 
on  a  religious  subject,  and  I,  sitting  on  a  couch  in 
the  rear  of  the  parlor,  began  to  deliver  a  speech  on 
progress  and  morality.  The  guests  listened  atten- 
tively, and  so  did  Gregory.  Afterwards  the  girls 
and  Gregory's  wife  began  to  sing  the  Christmas 
carol  I  had  composed,  "Triumph  and  Rejoice,  Good 
Men,  with  me."  We  joined  in.  Only  the  priests 
kept  silent.  Gregory  walked  up  and  down  the 
middle  of  the  room,  singing  out  of  tune  in  an  un- 
pleasant, squeakj^  voicej  shaking  his  beard,  knocking 
on  the  floor  with  his  feet.  He  wore  a  crimson  satin 
shirt  and  a  belt  with  show^^  tassels ;  his  cloth  trousers 
lost  themselves  in  long  blue  silk  stockings,  and  on 
his  feet  he  had  red  Turkish  slippers.  He  walked 
about  with  his  hands  in  the  pockets  of  his  trousers. 
Looking  at  him,  I  could  scarcely  keep  back  the  evil 
thoughts  that  came  to  me  regarding  him.  "O  Lord," 
I  kept  thinking,  "the  saint  resembles  a  he  goat.    He 


walks  like  a  goat  and  shakes  his  beard.     He  looks 
like  one  of  the  lewd  devils  of  the  pictures." 

The  guests  left  late  in  the  evening.  After  they 
had  gone,  Gregory,  pointing  to  his  satin  shirt,  said: 

"This  shirt  was  sewed  for  me  by  the  Empress.  I 
have  more  shirts  made  by  her."  I  asked  him  to 
show  them  to  me.  Gregory's  wife  brought  them 
in.  I  began  to  examine  them.  "Well,  would  you 
like  to  have  one  of  them  for  a  souvenir?"  asked 
Gregoiy,  smiling. 

"Yes,  may  I  have  one  or  two?" 

"Take  three.  These."  He  selected  for  me  three 
shirts,  one  red,  another  of  white  pongee,  and  the  third 
of  expensive  white  hnen,  with  embroidery  along  the 
collar  and  sleeves.  I  put  them  away  in  my  bag. 
Two  of  them  are  still  in  my  possession.  The  red 
shirt  was  without  a  collar,  and  I  asked  Gregory 
what  had  become  of  it.     He  replied: 

"Papa  [the  czar]  had  a  sore  throat  and  asked  my 
help.  I  told  him  to  smoke  less  and  to  wear  the  collar 
of  this  shirt  on  his  neck  and  throat  at  night.  He  got 
well,  and  took  it  as  a  miracle." 

The  last  day  of  my  stay  with  Rasputin  came.  I 
announced  my  desire  to  call  on  the  older  priest, 
Father  Ostrouomov,  for  a  chat.  Gregory  and  his 
wife  tried  their  best  to  dissuade  me,  calling  my  at- 
tention to  the  fact  that  the  priest  did  not  treat 
Gregory  well  and  that  he  slandered  him  and  set  afloat 
all  kinds  of  false  tales  about  him.     Nevertheless,  I 

122       THE  MAD  MONK  OF  RUSSIA 

was  determined  to  go.  I  was  escorted  to  his  house 
by  a  fellow-priest,  Ehas  Arapov,  a  pupil  of  Gregoiy. 
As  soon  as  I  came  in,  Father  Peter,  immediately- 
after  greeting  me,  asked: 

"Why  have  you  come  here  to  Poksrovskoye?" 

"To  visit  a  friend." 

"Not  a  friend,  but  a  villain,  a  libertine." 

"What  are  you  talking  about.  Father?"  I  must 
confess  that  I  had  gone  to  him  with  the  intention  of 
contradicting  him  as  much  as  possible,  and  thus  mak- 
ing him  tell  the  truth  about  Rasputin. 

"Yes,  a  debauchee.  They  gave  him  the  name  of 
Novich.     Truly  he  is  a  new  debauchee." 

"But  it  was  the  czar  himself  who  renamed  him." 

"Well,  and  what  of  it?  The  czarina  and  he  are 
mystically  inclined  and  fell  into  his  clutches;  but  he 
can't  fool  us." 

"Father,  if  you  know  anything  evil  about  Brother 
Gregoiy,  why  don't  you  inform  the  czar?" 

"I  know  much,  but  I  cannot  reach  him.  People 
who  are  higher  up  than  we  keep  still,  and  nobody 
would  listen  to  us.  Bishop  Theophanes  came  here, 
too.  What  for?  To  augment  the  libertine's  author- 
ity? And  now  you  have  come.  I  can  hardly  believe 
that  you  are  a  priest.  Would  a  priest  come  to  such 
a  scoundrel?     You  must  be  a  fugitive  from  justice." 

"Father!  And  why  did  you  visit  Brother  Gregory 
last  night?" 

"Why?  Why?  I  did  not  go  there  to  crack  nuts, 
but  on  the  bishop's  orders  to  see  what  you  were  doing 


there.  He  used  to  have  all  kinds  of  orgies  at  his 

"What  kind  of  orgies?" 

"Gregory  would  assemble  a  number  of  girls  and 
would  prance  about  with  them  and  wind  up  by 
behaving  very  indecently.  During  his  pilgrimages 
he  learned  all  kinds  of  vileness.  And  now  the  silly 
Petrograd  women  come  to  see  him;  he  takes  them 
to  the  bath-house.  There  is  a  woman  here,  a  wafer- 
baker,  who  was  hardly  able  to  get  rid  of  him.  When 
Gregory  was  asked  about  it,  he  said  he  knew  nothing, 
and  his  wife  corroborated  him.  But,  it  was  not 
his  wife  who  used  to  drag  out  by  the  hair  from  her 
house  the  Petrograd  ladies  whom  she  caught  with 

"And  what  was  his  occupation  before  he  became  a 

"Before  that  he  was  a  drunkard  and  a  mischief- 
breeder.  He  had  no  other  name  but  Grishka,  the 

Father  Peter  was  getting  excited,  and  I  was  blush- 
ing to  my  very  ears. 

"Father  have  you  witnessed  what  you  are  telling 
me?    Are  you  sure  of  it?" 

"I  know  everything;  I  have  seen  it  all  happen. 
And  what  I  have  missed  others  have  seen.  The 
peasants  to  this  day  consider  him  a  scoundrel,  and  the 
bishop  does  not  even  admit  him  to  his  presence,  no 
matter  how  many  attempts  he  has  made  to  be  in- 
troduced to  him.     To  work  himself  into  the  bishop's 

124       THE  MAD  MONK  OF  RUSSIA 

good  graces,  Gregory  procured  twenty  thousand 
rubles  for  the  erection  of  a  church.  And  what  do 
you  think  happened?  The  peasants  would  not  ac- 
cept his  gift  and  said:  *We  don't  want  your  money. 
We  know  how  you  got  it.'  He  does  not  care  a  fig 
for  us  priests.  Just  scrutinize  him  more  closely 
and  you  will  see  what  a  rascal  he  is." 

I  thanked  Father  Peter,  bade  him  good-by,  and 
left,  saying  to  myself:  "Don't  worry.  Father.  I 
shall  be  on  the  lookout.  That 's  what  I  came  here 

Gregory  met  me  with  great  embarrassment. 

"Well,  he  must  have  told  you  some  fine  stories 
about  me?" 


"But  what?     What?"  insisted  Gregory. 

"Well,  he  said  that  your  wife  had  fought  with 
ladies  on  account  of  you." 

Proskovia  Theodorovna  rushed  in  from  the  ad- 
joining room,  bawling  out: 

"He  lies,  the  dirty  beast!  Nothing  of  the  kind 
ever  took  place." 

"There  's  a  mean  rascal,"  added  Gregory.  "Don't 
believe  him.  You  know  that  the  popes  are  malicious 
and  slanderous.  Have  n't  they  caused  you  enough 
trouble?    Don't  believe  him,  or  I  shall  be  offended." 

I  was  at  a  loss  and  did  not  know  whom  to  dis- 
believe, Gregory  or  Peter.  I  reflected:  "The 
popes  are,  as  a  rule,  malicious  and  slanderous,  and 


Gregory  is  my  benefactor.  Therefore  I  must  listen 
with  caution  to  what  is  being  said  about  him.  Would 
a  person  as  base  as  Father  Peter  pictured  him  be 
tolerated  by  the  imperial  family?  I  shall  have  to 
look  more  closely.  If  I  happen  to  witness  anything 
with  my  own  eyes,  I  shall  be  the  first  to  denounce 
him  publicly  as  a  villain.  But  even  an  enemy  must 
be  treated  with  caution  when  evil  is  spoken  of  him. 
How  much  more  so  Gregory,  who  brought  me  back 
to  life,  who  gave  Tsaritzin  back  to  me,  who  filled  with 
joy  thousands  of  people  whose  only  consolation  was 
to  hear  my  services  and  sermons  in  the  church!" 
Thus  my  thoughts  wavered  back  and  forth,  and  I  was 
in  two  minds  during  the  whole  of  my  visit. 

At  the  end  of  ten  days,  on  December  15,  I  started 
home  for  Tsaritzin.  Gregory  and  his  wife  went  with 
me.  A  snow-storm  began.  We  could  not  see  the 
horses,  we  could  not  even  see  the  driver.  I  wrapped 
myself  up  in  my  pelisse,  and  said  to  myself:  "Now 
I  shall  think  about  the  saint.  The  snow-storm  hides 
everything  from  view,  and  he  won't  be  able  to  read 
my  thoughts."  On  the  entire  road  to  Tumen  (80 
versts )  I  kept  thinking  of  my  friend  who  sat  near  me, 
"What  is  he,  a  devil  or  an  angel?" 

In  Tumen  we  again  stopped  at  the  trunk-maker's, 
and  again  Gregory  disappeared  for  the  night.  He 
did  not  go  to  church,  although  it  was  Saturday  even- 
ing. In  general,  as  I  observed,  Gregory  prayed  no- 
where, neither  at  Saratoff  nor  at  Tsaritzin  nor  at 

126      THE  MAD  MONK  OF  RUSSIA 

any  monastery  where  we  stopped.  He  was  con- 
stantly on  the  run,  running  after  women  and  girls 
and  "lecturing"  them. 

Before  our  departure  the  next  morning,  when  the 
trunk-maker  bade  us  good-by  and  left  the  carriage, 
Gregory  remarked: 

"Just  look  at  that  crank  Dmitri  Dmitrievitch. 
He  said  to  me,  'Gregory,  take  me  to  the  czar;  I  can 
give  him  advice  as  well  as  you.'  As  if  every  one 
were  gifted  b}^  God!"  And  Gregory  smiled  in  such 
a  way  that  one  could  not  help  seeing  how  aware  he 
was  of  his  superiority,  of  his  mission,  or  his  being 
sent  by  God  for  the  furtherance  of  gi'eat  deeds;  of 
his  contempt  of  the  poor,  red-nosed  Dmitri  Dmitrie- 
vitch, who  needed  a  miserable  thousand  rubles  to 
enlarge  his  trunk  business,  and  in  order  to  obtain 
them  was  willing  to  give  advice  to  the  imperial 

On  December  20  we  arrived  at  Saratoff.  Gregory 
saw  his  wife  off  to  Petrograd  promising  to  go  there 
for  Epiphany.  He  was  planning  to  stay  with  me 
at  Tsaritzin  until  New  Year's.  At  Saratoff  we 
spent  only  half  a  day.  Gregory  suggested  that  we 
should  call  on  the  bishop. 

"Let 's  go  to  Hermogenes,"  he  said,  "and  you  tell 
him  that  I  go  to  the  bath-house  with  women."  We 
went.  I  told  him  what  Gregory  had  asked  me  to, 
and  Hermogenes  waved  his  arms  and  with  evident 
displeasure  remarked:  "What  for?  One  should 
not  do  such  things."     It  is  in  place  here  to  declare 




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that,  listening  at  different  times  to  Rasputin's  ac- 
counts of  his  affairs,  I  did  not  follow  the  tactics  of 
Hermogenes.  I  never  openly  condemned  the 
"saint,"  wishing  not  to  embarrass  him,  but  to  draw 
him  out  completely.  And  in  this  I  succeeded.  Ras- 
putin never  spoke  to  any  one  about  his  "saintly" 
activities  as  he  did  to  me.  Owing  to  this,  I  am  in  a 
position  to  relate  (more  about  Rasputin  than  any 
other  of  his  acquaintances. 

On  December  23,  1909,  Rasputin  and  I  arrived  at 
Tsaritzin.  The  people  accorded  us  a  joyful  recep- 
tion. The  next  day,  during  vespers,  he  came  to  me 
for  confession.  It  was  a  strange  confession.  With 
great  fear  I  had  prepared  for  it,  considering  myself 
unworthy  to  receive  the  confession  of  a  saint.  I 
stood  at  the  altar  and  spoke  not  a  word.  Gregory, 
too.  remained  silent,  biting  the  nail  of  his  index- 
finger  and  shifting  from  one  foot  to  another.  At 
length  I  said :  "Well,  Brother  Gregory,  if  you  have 
any  sins  confess  them."  Gregory  held  his  peace. 
"Perhaps  you  act  against  the  teachings  of  the 
church?"  I  added.  Gregory  frowned,  expressing  his 
displeasure,  turned  his  finger  round  his  nose,  and 

"No,  no;  I  don't  mean  that." 

"What,  then?" 

"Well,  my  enemies — if  they  succeed,  disturb  the 
czarina,  and  threaten  a  scandal — " 

"God  has  exalted  you,  and  your  fate  is  in  His 

130      THE  MAD  MONK  OF  RUSSIA 

"Well,  that  is  all,"  said  Gregoiy,  and  the  con- 
fession was  over.  For  a  long  while  after  that  I  stood 
at  the  altar  thinking,  "What  did  he  mean  by  'disturb 
the  czarina'?"     I  could  not  arrive  at  any  solution. 

During  the  holidays  we  again  took  to  visiting  our 
devotees.  Again  kissing  days  came,  and  some  of  the 
kisses  caused  scandals.  There  were  also  scandals  of 
a  different  nature.  For  instance,  at  the  house  of 
I.  R.  Krasnoschokov  I  introduced  Gregory  to 
Nastia  the  Simpleton,  who  sat  in  her  rags  at  the 
door.  Nastia  at  first  shielded  herself  from  Gregory 
with  her  hands  as  from  the  sun,  and  cried,  "Away! 
away!  I  don't  want  to  look  at  you!"  Then  she 
began  to  spit  on  him,  and  finally  splashed  some  tea 
from  a  dirty  cup  into  his  face.  Gregory  was  exceed- 
ingly frightened  and  tugged  me  by  the  sleeve  of  my 
cassock,  saying:  "Brother,  let  us  go.  Others  may 
notice  it.     She  's  mad." 

Four  days  after  Christmas,  Gregory  arranged  a 
special  festival  at  the  monastery.  He  had  asked  me 
three  days  in  advance  to  purchase  a  thousand  towels, 
a  thousand  handkerchiefs,  a  great  supply  of  candy, 
apples,  cakes,  sugar,  small  ikons,  crosses,  and  rings. 
I  bought  everything.  It  was  announced  in  church 
that  Brother  Gregory  was  going  to  distribute 
souvenirs.  About  fifteen  thousand  people  as- 
sembled. Gregory,  before  beginning  the  distribu- 
tion, delivered  a  little  speech.     He  said: 

"Father  Iliodor  has  planted  a  vineyard  here,  and 
I,  as  an  experienced  gardener,  have  come  to  trim 


and  prune  it.  Here,  take  these  presents;  each  has 
a  significance.  Whatever  one  gets,  such  will  be  his 
experience  in  life." 

The  people  greedily  seized  the  cheap  presents — 
greedily,  because  they  all  considered  Gregory  a 
clairvoyant  and  desired  to  have  their  fortune  told  by 
the  presents.  Whoever  received  a  handkerchief 
began  to  cry  on  the  spot.  Very  few  were  eager  to 
get  sugar,  although  it  stands  for  sweet  life;  it  was 
too  cheap  a  present.  Marriageable  maids  almost 
snatched  the  rings  from  Rasputin's  hands,  and  felt 
grievously  disappointed  when  he  gave  them  ikons, 
which  meant  that  they  would  become  nuns.  After 
the  presents  had  been  distributed,  various  stories 
began  to  circulate  through  the  town  of  those  who, 
receiving  presents  portending  evil,  buried  them,  and 
then  had  a  Te  Deum  oflPered  in  order  to  prevent  Ras- 
putin's prophecy  from  being  fulfilled. 

On  the  night  of  December  30,  a  crowd  of  two 
thousand  escorted  Gregory  to  the  terminal  of  the 
Petrograd  railroad.  Before  leaving  the  monastery 
I  announced  to  the  crowd  that  Gregory  Ephimo- 
vitch  intended  to  build  a  nunnery  at  Tsaritzin,  where 
he  would  be  the  prior,  and  that  he  invited  the  people 
to  visit  him ;  for  he  had  been  so  pleased  with  the  dis- 
tribution of  presents  that  he  had  promised  to  inter- 
cede with  the  imperial  family  for  a  fifty-thousand- 
ruble  gift  for  this  purpose. 

The  multitude  cried  out:  "God  save  him!  We  '11 
come,  we  '11  come  with  our  father.    We  '11  come  with- 

132       THE  MAD  MONK  OF  RUSSIA 

out  fail."  We  left  the  monastery  carrying  a 
Christmas  star.  At  the  station  we  sang  hymns  and 
carols.  Gregory,  from  the  platform  of  the  carriage, 
began  to  deliver  a  speech  about  his  high  position  in 
life;  but  it  was  so  unintelligible  that  even  I  could 
understand  nothing.  After  him  spoke  a  certain 
Kositzin.  As  his  speech  was  hardly  superior  to  that 
of  Gregory,  I  cut  him  short.  Then  Gregory  mo- 
tioned me  away  in  the  manner  of  a  general  shoving 
aside  a  soldier  who  has  said  or  done  something  amiss, 
and  addressed  Kositzin  with  an  air  of  courtly 
etiquette  and  patronage,  saying:  "Go  on!  please 
do!"     Of  course  I  gave  in  and  did  not  interfere. 

The  train  carried  Rasputin  away.  We  returned 
to  the  monastery.  Near  the  monastery  the  star 
burned  away,  and  the  people  said,  "There  goes 
Gregory's  star!"  Having  taken  leave  of  the  people 
at  two  o'clock  in  the  morning,  I  retired  to  my  cell, 
fell  on  my  knees  before  the  ikon,  and  began  to  pray: 
"Lord,  reveal  to  me  whether  Rasputin  is  an  angel 
or  a  devil!  I  have  noticed  many  strange  things  in 
his  behavior;  I  have  heard  many  evil  things  about 
him.  Are  they  untrue?  Do  not  the  papers  slander 
me  in  all  ways  possible,  do  they  not  besmirch  me  and 
threaten  me,  while  Thou,  O  Lord,  knowest  that  I 
am  innocent?    Reveal  him  to  me,  O  Lord!" 

And  God  did  reveal  him  to  me. 

In  January,  1910,  when  the  unmasking  of  Ras- 
putin began,  I  took  his  part.  But  in  March  of  that 
year,  at  the  confession  of  the  nun  Xenia  and  the 


Tsaritzin   shopkeeper,    L I    found   out   things 

about  Rasputin  which  put  an  end  to  my  doubts  about 
him.  I  understood  that  he  was  none  other  than  the 
devil  incarnate. 

From  that  day  on  my  soul  broke  away  from 
Gregory,  and  I  began  to  plan  for  a  painless  ending 
of  our  friendship.  I  had  to  meet  him,  of  course,  after 
that  time,  but  the  meetings  were  brought  about  by 
extreme  necessity  and  were  under  no  friendly  dis- 
guise. All  I  cared  for  was  to  collect  as  much  evi- 
dence as  possible  regarding  his  activities,  in  order  to 
have  sufficient  cause  to  disown  hun.  Rasputin,  how- 
ever, still  regarded  me  as  his  sincere  friend,  and  sent 
me  letters  and  telegrams  every  now  and  then. 

At  the  end  of  April,  1910,  I  went  to  Petrograd 
to  purchase  books  for  the  monasterial  library.  I 
stayed  at  G.  P.  Sazonov's,  once  editor  or  publisher 
of  the  paper  "Rossia,"  suspended  by  the  Government 
for  printing  Amfiteatrov's  feuilleton  "Gospoda 
Obmanovi"  ("The  Cheats").  I  called  up  Father 
Benjamin  of  the  theological  seminary,  and  asked 
him  to  come  to  see  me  and  to  tell  me  about  Ras- 
putin's escapades.  He  advised  me  to  apply  to 
Solodovnikov,  deacon  of  the  Church  of  Vladimir,  and 
his  sisters.     I  did  so. 

"Father  Iliodor,"  exclaimed  Solodovnikov,  after 
he  had  greeted  me,  "why  have  you  defended  that 
rascal  Rasputin?" 

"That  is  why  I  have  come  to  you  now,  to  collect 
evidence  against  him.     I  defended  him;  now  I  shall 

134       THE  MAD  MONK  OF  RUSSIA 

unmask  him.  I  am  telling  you  the  truth.  I  did 
not  know  him  to  be,  not  an  angel,  but  a  devil." 

"We,  too,  were  deceived  at  first.  And  Father 
Theophanes  was  led  into  error  and  paid  the  penalty. 
I  am  sorry  that  Lena  and  my  sisters  are  not  here. 
They  would  tell  you  what  Gregory  did.  Lena  is  in 
hiding  for  fear  of  being  killed  by  Gregory's  friends 
because  she  told  Father  Theophanes  at  confession 
how  Gregory  had  treated  her." 

Returning  to  Sazonov's,  I  found  Rasputin  there. 
He  had  just  come  from  court.  Presently  a  number 
of  mihtary  gentlemen  began  to  arrive,  and  among 
them  Professor  Migulin  and  several  English  bankers. 
All  of  them,  especially  JVIigulin  and  Sazonov,  treated 
Gregory  with  servility.  Sazonov  told  me  later  that 
they  had  organized  a  company  for  the  irrigation  of 
the  transcaspian  steppes  and  the  foundation  of  a 
Russian  corn-exchange,  and  that  Gregory  Ephimo- 
vitch  had  undertaken  to  see  the  affair  through  at 
court  and  mainly  to  procure  the  funds  required. 

While  I  was  till  at  Sazonov's  Rasputin  received 
a  letter  from  Anna  Viroubova,  the  czarina's  most 
intimate  friend,  requesting  us  to  come  at  six  in  the 
evening  to  the  Marble  Palace,  to  the  apartments  of 
her  father,  Alexander  Sergeievitch  Taneyev. 

We  went.     On  the  way  Rasputin  said: 

"Chionia  Berlatzkaya,  an  officer's  widow,  took  of- 
fense against  me  because  I  said  that  her  father  would 
shovel  coals  with  the  devils  in  hell.  She  was  insulted, 
and  wrote  a  whole  book  of  nonsense  about  me  and 


gave  it  to  the  czar.  Yesterday  he  sent  for  me  and 
said,  'Gregory,  shall  I  read  this  book  or  not?'  I 
asked,  'Does  it  give  you  pleasure  to  read  in  the  lives 
of  the  saints  how  slanderers  mocked  the  godly  men?' 
He  replied,  'No;  it  distresses  me.'  'Well,  do  as  you 
please.'  Papa  took  the  book,  stripped  off  the  covers, 
tore  it  in  four  parts,  and  threw  it  into  the  fireplace. 
That  is  how  Berlatzkaya's  base  plot  came  to  nothing. 
And  Theophanes,'  he  continued,  'had  his  reward, 
too.  He  came  to  the  czarina  to  slander  me,  to 
smirch  me.  And  the  czarina  said  to  him,  *Away  with 
you,  or  I  '11  have  you  degi'aded !'  Yes,  now  he  '11  find 
no  rest  in  Petrograd,  he  who  used  to  be  the  czar's 
confessor !  He  '11  rot  away  like  a  dog  for  rebelling 
in  vain." 

When  we  reached  the  Marble  Palace,  Rasputin 
was  received  by  Taneyev,  his  younger  daughter  Sana, 
and  her  husband,  Alexander  Erikovich  Pistolkors, 
gentlemen  of  the  bedchamber.  Taneyev,  a  sly  little 
man,  led  Rasputin  aside,  spoke  to  him  mysteriously 
about  something,  then  took  his  portfolio  and  de- 
parted. Rasputin  began  to  chat  with  Sana  and  her 
husband.  During  the  conversation  he  kissed  her 
several  times,  her  husband  smiling  in  an  innocent, 
babyish  way.  Ten  minutes  later  Viroubova  entered, 
and  Sana  and  her  husband  took  their  leave. 

Rasputin  literally  danced  around  Viroubova. 
With  his  left  hand  he  stroked  his  beard  and  with 
his  right  he  touched  Viroubova's  breast,  shoulder, 
and  hands.     He  also  kissed  her.     Viroubova  stood 

136      THE  MAD  MONK  OF  RUSSIA 

motionless  and  allowed  him  to  have  his  way.  It 
seemed  as  though  he  hypnotized  her. 

At  least  Viroubova  said:  "Well,  they  are  waiting 
for  me  at  the  palace.  I  have  to  go.  Good-by,  holy 
Father."  And  then  something  unbelievable  took 
place,  which  I  could  not  have  thought  possible  had  I 
not  witnessed  it.  Viroubova  prostrated  herself  upon 
the  floor,  touched  with  her  forehead  both  of  Ras- 
putin's soles,  then  got  up,  kissed  him  thrice  on  the 
lips,  and  kissed  his  hands  several  times. 

On  the  way  home  Gregory  said: 

"Well,  have  you  seen?" 

"I  have." 

"Well,  what  do  you  think  of  it?" 

"What  can  I  think  of  it?     I  am  stupefied." 

"You  saw  Annushka  [Viroubova].  But  you 
should  see  the  imperial  family.  Oh,  if  you  knew 
everj^thing!  Well,  never  mind;  you  will  find  out 
some  day.  And  I  do  it  all  with  my  body.  My  touch 
conveys  a  force.  Let  me  just  touch  you.  Well, 
what  do  you  feel?"  He  touched  my  shoulder  with 
his  hand  and  asked, 


I  felt  absolutely  nothing,  but  I  mumbled, 

From  Petrograd,  at  the  beginning  of  May,  I  went 
to  Saratoff  to  see  Bishop  Hermogenes  on  business. 
I  found  that  Gregory  had  just  arrived  there  from 
Kazan.    Passing  from  Hermogenes'  study  into  my 


own  room,  I  beheld  a  strange  sight;  in  a  far  corner 
of  the  room  stood  Rasputin,  clad  in  my  cassock  and 
wearing  my  gold  pectoral  cross. 

Seeing  me,  he  began  to  smile  in  a  repulsive,  servile 
manner,  as  though  he  had  just  got  through  doing 
something  offensive,  and  said: 

"Well,  well,  my  friend,  how  does  the  cassock  be- 
come me?     Tell  me,  will  you?" 

"It  is  all  right,"  I  replied  slowly,  though  I  could 
hardly  keep  from  blurting  out  my  disgust. 

"And  would  it  not  be  nicer  like  this?" 

With  these  words  Gregory  took  my  cowl  off  the 
table  and  put  it  on. 

"No,  that  does  not  become  you,"  I  said,  thinking  to 
myself.  "Just  let  him  into  a  convent,  and  he  '11 
carry  on  there  like  a  fox  among  geese."  At  the  same 
time  I  was  wondering:  "What  makes  him  try  on  the 
cassock  and  the  cross?  Does  he  intend  to  become  a 
priest?  The  vile  creature!  And  he  may  become 
one,  too.  Did  he  not  say  to  me  once,  'They  '11  make 
me  a  priest,  and  I  '11  become  the  czar's  confessor; 
then  I  '11  always  stay  at  court.'  " 

I  was  right  in  my  surmise.  In  an  hour  or  so  I  was 
enlightened  on  the  subject.  I  was  beginning  to  get 
ready  to  leave  for  Tsaritzin  when  Hermogenes  said 
to  me: 

"Wait;  do  not  go.  There  is  something  to  be  done 

"Your  Reverence,  everything  is  at  a  standstill  there 

138       THE  MAD  MONK  OF  RUSSIA 

in  my  absence,  and  the  construction  of  the  monastery 
has  come  to  a  halt.  As  it  is,  I  have  been  idle  for 
more  than  a  week.     Let  me  go." 

"You  are  always  in  a  hurry,"  said  Hermogenes, 
a  little  irritably.  "I  have  something  important  for 
you  to  do.  The  people  in  Tsaritzin  will  have  to 

"Very  well,  your  Reverence;  I'll  stay.  Do  not 
be  offended.     What  is  it  that  you  have  for  me?" 

"You  must  prepare  Gregory  Ephimovitch  for  the 

"Your  Reverence,  he  is  illiterate;  he  cannot  read 
or  write.     And  then  his  life — " 

"Never  mind;  he  will  repent.  All  you  have  to 
teach  him  is  the  liturgical  prayers  and  exclama- 

"Very  well.     To  obey  you  I  will  begin  at  once." 

Gregory  and  I  sat  down  in  the  parlor  at  the  round 
table,  on  a  soft  divan.  Hermogenes  brought  his 
large-type  mass-book,  and  I  began  to  instruct  Ras- 
putin : 

"Well,  Brother  Gregory,  just  say  this,  'Let  us 
pray  to  God  all  together.'  Gregory  did  not  follow 
the  book.  He  held  his  finger  approximately  on  the 
spot  where  the  prayer  was  printed,  tilted  his  head 
backward,  drawled  out  in  a  monotonous,  snuffling 
voice,  "Let  us  pray  God  all  together."  It  was  as 
if  he  were  picturing  himself  in  advance  in  the  role 
of  a  priest,  falling  in  love  with  himself  and  dreaming 
how  his  cassock  would  completely  and  firmly  estabhsh 


him  at  the  court  and  make  him  the  imperial  con- 

It  took  him  the  whole  of  the  first  day  to  learn 
the  first  prayer.  "There  won't  be  much  progress 
with  a  pupil  like  this,"  I  said  to  myself.  And  there 
was  not.  The  whole  of  the  second  day  I  spent  try- 
ing to  teach  Gregory  the  second  prayer,  "Let  us 
pray  to  God  for  peace  above  and  the  salvation  of  our 
souls."  It  would  not  get  into  his  head.  Now  he 
would  begin  to  read  it  from  the  end,  now  from  the 
beginning,  and  then  he  would  wander  back  to  the 
first  prayer. 

Finally  I  could  stand  it  no  longer.  I  went  to 
Hermogenes  and  said: 

"Your  Reverence,  please  let  me  go  to  Tsaritzin." 

"How  about  Brother  Gregory?" 

"Will  you  believe  it?  We  have  spent  the  whole 
day  on  the  second  prayer  without  any  results.  He 
cannot  master  it,  and  keeps  running  to  the  steward's. 
Let  me  go,  your  Reverence.  He  is  a  block-head;  he 
cannot  learn  anything." 

Hermogenes  bent  his  head  low  and  kept  still  for 
a  long  while ;  then  he  said : 

"Yes,  I  see  myself  that  Gregory  is  dull.  Well, 
God  be  with  you!  Return  home."  I  made  a  low 
bow  and  went  to  my  room. 

Later,  whenever  he  was  asked  by  newspaper  men 
or  other  people  whether  he  had  ever  intended  to  be- 
come a  priest,  Gregory  would  invariably  give  the 
same  answer: 

140      THE  MAD  MONK  OF  RUSSIA 

"Nonsense!  How  could  I  enter  the  priesthood — 
I,  an  illiterate  peasant?" 

"But  people  say  that  you  tried  to." 

"They  lie;  what  can  you  do  with  liars?" 

In  February,  1911,  Rasputin  went  on  his  famous 
pilgrimage  to  Mount  Athos  and  Jerusalem,  doing 
penance  for  some  great  sins  that  he  never  confessed 
to  anybody.  Four  months  later,  on  June  17,  his 
secretary,  Akilina  Laptinskaya,  and  Mme.  Lochtina 
came  to  me  at  Tsaritzin,  saying: 

"Prepare  to  receive  the  great  guest." 


"Father  Gregory  is  returning  from  Jerusalem 
through  Petrograd." 

"And  when  is  he  coming  to  Tsaritzin?" 

"He  wrote  he  would  come  after  the  twentieth  of 
the  month." 

"I  shall  have  to  be  in  the  diocese  of  Rostov  then. 
I  am  going  to  inspect  the  land  given  to  the 

"So  you  are  not  going  to  meet  Father  Gregory? 
Who,  then,  will  meet  him?  Is  it  right  to  dispose 
of  an  important  affair  in  this  way?  You  must 
assemble  a  great  number  of  people  and  march  to  the 
railroad  station  or  to  the  pier,  whether  he  comes  by 
rail  or  the  Volga.  Forget  about  your  land.  He 
who  is  coming  is  greater  than  anything  that  con- 
cerns you  here." 

"No,  I  cannot.     All  my  time  is  taken  up." 


B    r: 

CI-     ;^ 


^#'  J 

■f*        l^*.** 

.4  '   .». 


p   i- 

5-     C 


Lochtina  and  Laptinskaya  were  very  much  of- 
fended, but  I  went  on  my  errand. 

When  I  came  back  in  three  days  Gregory  was  al- 
ready at  Tsaritzin.  He  had  already  made  the 
acquaintance  of  a  young  and  pretty  teacher  who  had 
come  from  Ural  to  see  my  monasteiy  and  was  stay- 
ing at  the  monastery  hotel.  According  to  Lay  Sister 
Eugenia  Ponomareva,  the  saint  had  at  once  got  on 
friendly  terms  with  her,  and  had,  it  appears,  insisted 
upon  "curing"  her.  She  had,  however,  stubbornly 
insi'sted  that  she  was  not  ill  and  refused  to  undergo 
the  treatment.  This  irritated  Rasputin  consider- 
ably; he  was  morose  and  kept  repeating: 

"You  don't  understand.  The  well  is  deep,  but 
your  ropes  are  too  short." 

Rasputin  greeted  me  coldly  and  looked  at  me 

"I  am  always  busy,"  I  began.  "I  have  just  come, 
and  now  I  must  go  away  again." 

"Where?"  asked  Gregory. 

"To  the  Dubyovsk  nunnery  for  holiday  services. 
The  mother  superior  has  begged  me  to  come,  and  I 
have  to  respect  her  wishes.  They  expect  a  large 
crowd,  and  they  have  only  one  old,  sickly  priest 

"Oh,  don't  go.  I  want  you  to  do  something  with 
me  here.     You  can  go  after  I  leave." 

"No;  impossible.  Although  I  have  a  cold,  I  must 
go.     I  gave  my  word."     I  went.     Gregory,  Loch- 

144      THE  MAD  MONK  OF  RUSSIA 

tina,  Laptinskaya,  and  about  fifty  girls  of  the  church 
choir  went  with  me. 

Neither  on  the  way  nor  at  the  nunnery  did  any  one 
of  my  devotees  pay  the  sUghtest  attention  to 
Gregory.  They  did  not  consult  him,  kiss  his  hands, 
or  run  after  him,  as  they  had  during  his  first  and 
second  visits  to  Tsaritzin.  This  became  specially 
noticeable,  inasmuch  as  Lochtina  and  Laptinskaya 
constantly  trod  on  Gregory's  heels,  like  two  walking 

The  people  of  Tsaritzin,  had,  in  fact,  seen  through 
Rasputin  long  before,  but  had  feared  to  speak  about 
it  openly,  thinking  that  I  still  loved  him. 

They  showed  how  they  distrusted  him  in  several 
striking  ways  after  our  return  from  the  Dubyovsk 
nunnery.  During  my  absence  photographs  had  been 
received,  exhibiting  me  in  the  attitudes  I  had  taken 
while  visiting  my  parents  in  the  Don  district  at  the 
beginning  of  June.  I  was  photographed  angling, 
drinking  tea  at  the  barn,  and  among  my  relatives. 
The  people  showed  great  interest  in  my  doings  at 
my  birthplace,  and  with  great  curiosit}^  examined  the 
photographs,  which  somebody  had  nailed  to  the  in- 
side wall  of  the  monastery.  When  we  entered  the 
cell,  Gregory  remarked  impertinently: 

"You  keep  on  glorifying  yourself,  don't  you?" 

"What  do  you  mean?" 

"Why,  haven't  you  exhibited  your  pictures?" 

"It  was  not  I.     I  do  not  know  who  did  it." 

"Well,  be  that  as  it  may,  it  is  for  your  own  people. 


Just  see  how  they  flock  there.  And  why  did  you  cut 
off  my  picture?" 

The  photograph  of  Gregory  referred  to  was  one 
that  had  been  taken  of  himself,  Bishop  Hermogenes, 
and  me  in  a  group.  The  people  had  insisted  that 
the  figure  of  Rasputin  should  be  cut  off,  warning  the 
photographer  that  otherwise  they  would  not  buy  it. 

"The  people  cut  it  off.  I  did  not  even  know  about 

"It 's  a  he.     You  cut  it  off." 

"Go  and  find  out." 

He  ran  down  to  the  chandler  who  was  selling  the 
photographs,  and  inquired.  When  he  came  back  he 

"It  is  true.  The  people  did  it.  Don't  they  love 
me?  You  did  not  tell  them  anything  about  me,  did 
you  5 

"No,  since  my  defending  you  I  have  never  spoken 
about  you  again." 

"Look!  look!  The  people  are  crowding  into  the 
church,"  he  then  exclaimed,  changing  the  subject. 

Indeed,  the  singers  of  the  monastery  choir  were 
coming  to  the  rehearsal;  they  numbered  a  thousand. 

"When  the  rehearsal  is  over,"  he  continued,  "call 
the  people  to  the  porch  and  tell  them  that  whoever 
wishes  to  receive  my  advice  and  blessing  shall  at  once 
go  into  the  church.     I  will  meet  them  there." 

"All  right.  I  shall  do  as  you  ask  me,  but  I  do  not 
vouch  for  the  results." 

After  the  rehearsal  the  people  crowded  together 

146      THE  MAD  MONK  OF  RUSSIA 

in  the  porch.  Rasputin  stood  near  me.  I  delivered 
Rasputin's  request  to  the  people.  Without  reply- 
ing, they  continued  looking  at  me,  for  they  had  not 
seen  me  the  whole  week. 

"Well,  do  you  hear  me?" 

"We  do." 

"Well,  those  who  desire  go  back  into  the  church." 

From  the  enormous  crowd  three  shriveled  old 
women  stumbled  up  the  steps  and  went  in. 

Rasputin  saw  this.  His  face  was-  sad  and  morose. 
Hurriedly  he  went  down-stairs.  I  supposed  he  was 
going  into  the  church;  but  instead  he  turned  to  the 
gate,  and  betook  himself  to  the  pretty  teacher  from 

The  next  day  Gregory  entered  my  cell  and  began 
to  babble  monstrous  things.     He  said: 

"You  'd  better  listen  to  me,  my  friend.  It  was  I 
who  got  you  returned  to  Tsaritzin  again.  I  kept  on 
annoying  the  royal  family  with  telegrams  from 
Jerusalem.  They  were  stubborn  at  first,  but  gave 
in  in  the  end  and  returned  you.  I  told  them  to  send 
away  Procurator  Lukjanov.  They  did.  I  will  soon 
have  Stolypin  chased  away.  The  royal  family  are 
angry  with  you  for  your  escape  from  Novosil. 
They  were  about  to  send  you  money  for  the  erection 
of  a  new  church  there,  and  suddenly  you  ran  away. 
Well,  it 's  all  right.  They  love  you  in  spite  of  it, 
they  do.  When  you  were  presented,  the  czar  liked 
you  very  much,  and  as  for  your  sermons,  he  'd  go  on 
listening  to  them  forever.     And  ^lama  is  preparing 


for  you  an  expensive  diamond  panagia;  it  will  cost 
a  hundred  and  fifty  thousand  rubles.  They  want 
to  make  you  a  bishop,  so  much  was  the  czar  pleased 
with  your  service  in  the  chapel  at  Tsarskoe  Selo, 
with  your  sermon  and  everything.  And  they  like 
you  because  you  are  with  me  and  defend  them 
strongly.  Don't  worry.  I  am  telling  you  the 
truth."  Gregory  paused;  wrinkles  appeared  on  his 
forehead.  He  bit  his  nail,  and  it  was  evident  that 
something  great  was  going  on  in  his  soul.  Then  he 
suddenly  gave  a  start  and  turned  his  head  to  me. 
His  cheeks  flushed,  a  strange,  feverish  fire  lit  up  his 
eyes,  and  he  said  precipitately, 

"And  do  you  know,  do  you  know,  it  was  I — I  who 
gave  them  an  heir." 

"How  so?"  I  asked. 

He  explained  himself,  clearly,  and  suddenly  ran 
out  of  the  cell,  and  in  great  agitation  paced  to  and 
fro  on  the  balcony  for  a  long  while. 

He  told  me  this  at  the  end  of  June,  1911;  on  the 
28th,  if  I  remember  aright. 

That  very  day  I  placed  Rasputin  before  an  ikon 
and  spoke  to  him  thus : 

"Gregory,  make  a  clean  breast  of  the  accusations 
against  you.     Is  what  they  write  about  you  true?" 

He  shook  his  finger  threateningly  and  said : 

"What  is  the  matter  with  you,  you  funnj^  fellow? 
You  believe  all  kinds  of  nonsense.     Look  out!" 

I  was  frightened,  and  ceased  speaking,  sincerely 
surprised  at  my  own  audacity. 

148       THE  MAD  MONK  OF  RUSSIA 

Meanwhile  I  was  arranging  for  a  great  popular 
pilgrimage  to  the  Sarov  hermitage.  Every  evening 
a  number  of  people  gathered  at  the  monastery  to 
register  and  to  obtain  tickets.  There  were  many 
poor  people  among  them  who  did  not  have  the  fare. 
Gregory  availed  himself  of  the  opportunity  to  at- 
tempt for  the  last  time  to  raise  his  popularity  and 
importance  among  my  devotees.  He  offered  the 
people  three  thousand  rubles  for  the  poor,  promising 
to  procure  the  money.  Then  he  went  to  his  cell  and 
wrote  a  telegram  to  the  czarina,  asking  her  to  give 
the  three  thousand  rubles  for  the  Sarov  pilgrimage. 

This  interested  me  vitally.  I  wanted  to  ascertain 
once  more  whether  Gregory  was  still  influential  at 
the  court  or  whether  he  was  telling  me  lies.  The 
next  day  the  money  did  not  come,  and  every  one 
went  about  asking,  "Will  the  czarina  send  the  money, 
or  will  she  not?"  Of  course  Gregory  was  more 
agitated  than  anybody  else.  Laptinskaya  and 
Lochtina  came  to  me  and  said:  "This  is  serious. 
Father  Gregory  has  a  hemorrhage  in  the  throat.  He 
is  very  excited  because  the  czarina  has  not  sent  the 
money  yet."  On  the  fourth  da}'^  the  money  came. 
Pistolkors  wrote: 

Annushka  has  handed  me  3000  rubles  from  Mama  for  the 
Sarov  pilgrimage.  The  delay  has  occurred  because  Mama 
did  not  make  out  at  first  the  place  of  the  pilgrimage.  She 
thought  it  was  to  Saratoff,  to  Hermogenes.  Later  she  saw 
her  mistake,  and  immediately  gave  the  money  to  be  sent  to  its 
destination.     With  love, 

A,  Pistolkors. 


Having  received  the  money,  Gregory  declared  he 
was  going  to  leave  for  Poksrovskoye  the  next  day. 
Lochtina  and  Laptinskaya  came  to  me,  urging  me 
that  it  was  necessary  to  see  Gregory  off  with  as  much 
solemnity  as  possible  and  to  present  him  with  a  hand- 
some ikon,  flowers,  and  some  valuable  gift.  I 
obeyed.  On  Sunday  I  ordered  a  collection  in  church 
for  this  purpose.  The  church  was  crowded,  but  only 
twenty-nine  rubles  were  collected.  I  sent  this  money 
out  for  a  cheap  ikon  and  a  tea-set. 

Laptinskaya  and  Lochtina,  who  were  watching  the 
preparations  with  a  vigilant  eye,  hurried  over  to  me 
and  exclaimed: 

"Have  you  gone  mad?  To  present  such  a 
great  man  with  such  trash!  What  will  the  people 

"The  people  have  had  their  say  already.  They  put 
only  tweny-nine  rubles  in  the  plate,  and  I  have  no 
money  for  presents." 

"Oh,  so  it  is  only  a  question  of  money.  Why  did 
you  not  tell  Father  Gregory?  We  will  bring  the 
money  at  once."  In  five  minutes  they  returned  with 
three  hundred  rubles.  "Here  is  the  money,"  they 

"Well,  go  yourselves  and  buy  whatever  you 
please,"  I  told  them. 

They  bought  an  expensive  ikon  and  an  expensive 

Rasputin  also  had  kept  an  eye  on  the  whole  affair. 
In  the  evening,  when  the  presents  were  brought,  at 

150      THE  MAD  MONK  OF  RUSSIA 

Ribakov's  house  he  said  to  the  teacher,  Tonia  Riba- 
kova,  word  for  word,  as  follows: 

"Iliodor  does  not  show  enough  respect  for  my 
rank.  He  has  been  spoiled.  Does  he  not  know  that 
it  is  only  due  to  me  that  he  is  still  at  Tsaritzin?  He 
will  fare  badly." 

The  day  of  departure  came.  The  people  gathered. 
A  bouquet  of  flowers  was  presented  to  Rasputin 
by  the  little  girl  named  Pluchina,  who  said,  "Your 
soul  is  as  beautiful  as  these  flowers."  Somebody 
presented  the  tea-set;  then  I,  making  a  supreme  ef- 
fort, presented  the  ikon  and  made  a  speech.  Every 
word  I  uttered  stung  my  throat  like  a  needle. 

Gregory  was  moved  by  all  this  and  began  to  speak 
to  the  people.  For  the  first  time  since  our  acquaint- 
ance he  seemed  personally  attractive  to  me.  His 
tall,  slim  figure,  covered  with  a  costly,  sleeveless 
Russian  overcoat,  was  stretched  forward,  and  he 
seemed  to  be  an  aerial  being,  ready  to  take  wing 
from  the  high  platform  on  which  he  stood.  He  spoke 
abruptty,  firmly,  and  sonorously.  These  are  the 
words  that  remain  in  my  memory: 

"Yes,  my  foes  have  arisen  against  me.  They  think 
they  will  make  an  end  of  me.  But  what  are  they? 
Worms  crawling  on  the  inside  of  the  cover  of  a 
barrel  filled  with  sauer-kraut.  That  is  what  they 
are.  They  want  to  throw  me  down.  Let  them  wait 
a  little!" 

The  word  "wait"  Gregory  pronounced  with  such 
inner  force  that  it  became  clear  to  me  that  every- 

■r    3 

°  g 

a:  "O 

!S  a 

o  - 

1-3  a> 

c  ■*' 

03  o 

c  -g 


fc.  '-S 

<  Si 

"  I 


thing  he  had  told  me  at  different  times  about  his 
"activities"  at  the  imperial  palace  was  nothing  but 
the  naked  truth  from  beginning  to  end.  However, 
much  as  I  liked  Gregory's  appearance  at  that 
moment,  I  felt  not  a  trace  of  remorse  in  my  soul.  I 
thought,  "The  devil  himself — that  is  exactly  what 
you  are." 

The  monastery-dwellers  escorted  Gregory  to  the 
steamboat-pier.  From  the  upper  deck  of  the  steamer 
he  delivered  another  speech,  again  about  his  enemies. 
Then  the  steamer  put  off,  the  people  began  to  dis- 
perse, and  I,  just  as  after  the  first  departure  of 
Gregory  from  Tsaritzin,  went  to  my  cell,  fell  on  my 
knees  before  the  ikon  and  began  to  cry  and  call  to 
God:  "Lord,  rid  me  of  this  devill  When  I  did  not 
know  him,  I  defended  him.  Now  that  I  do  know 
him,  I  have  not  the  courage  to  smite  his  eyes.  I  am 
afraid  lest  they  drive  me  out  of  Tsaritzin,  injure  the 
people,  and  ruin  my  sacred  cause.  Lord,  appoint 
the  time  for  me  to  get  rid  of  Gregory!  Appoint  it, 
and  save  me,  and  let  me  remain  at  Tsaritzin!" 

And  God  appointed  the  sixteenth  of  December, 
1911.    That  day  I  got  rid  of  Rasputin. 


Rasputin's  own  story 

Let  us  be  just  even  to  the  devil.  I  wish  to  present 
here  Rasputin's  own  story  of  his  life,  from  which  it 
will  be  clearly  seen  how  highly  he  regarded  himself, 
considering  himself  the  most  righteous  among  the 

The  following  pages,  entitled  "The  Life  of  an 
Experienced  Pilgrim,"  were  written  from  his  dicta- 
tion in  the  village  of  Poksrovskoye,  in  the  spring  of 
1907,  by  Chionia  Berlatzkaya.  At  one  time  Raspu- 
tin brought  pressure  upon  the  Holy  Synod  to  have 
them  publish  the  life  and  recommend  it  to  the  atten- 
tion of  the  faithful.  This  the  Holy  Synod  refused 
to  do.  Afterward  it  came  into  the  possession  of 
Lochtina,  from  whom  I  received  it.  The  manuscript 
is  now  in  my  hands.  In  quoting  from  this  manu- 
script I  have  from  necessity  made  certain  emenda- 

Up  to  the  age  of  twenty-eight  I  led  what  people 
call  a  worldly  life.  I  loved  the  world  and  everything 
in  it,  and  I  sought  consolation  from  a  worldly  point 
of  view.  I  drove,  I  fished,  I  plowed,  and  my  life 
was  fairly  easj'-  for  a  peasant,  though  many  sorrows 
fell  to  my  lot.  I  had  to  suffer  all  kinds  of  ridicule 
among  the  laborers.     In  my  heart  I  always  cherished 



a  hope  of  finding  the  road  to  salvation.  I  became  a 
pilgrim,  and  in  my  pilgrimages  I  often  had  to  bear 
all  kinds  of  calamities  and  misfortunes.  There  were 
attempts  to  kill  me,  but  the  Lord  watched  over  me. 
More  than  once  I  was  attacked  by  wolves,  but  they 
did  not  harm  me.  Many  a  time  highwaymen  came 
to  rob  me.     I  would  say  to  them: 

"What  you  wish  to  take  is  not  mine,  but  God's. 
I  will  gladly  give  you  all  I  have.'* 

Then  something  would  speak  ui  their  hearts;  they 
would  think  for  a  moment  and  say : 

* 'Where  did  you  come  from,  and  what  is  the  matter 
with  you?" 

*T  am  a  man,  a  brother  sent  to  you,  and  devoted  to 
God,"  I  would  answer. 

It  is  sweet  to  write  about  this  now,  but  I  had  to 
live  through  it  all.  I  used  to  walk  forty  and  fifty 
versts,  heeding  neither  storm,  wind,  nor  rain.  Often 
I  had  to  go  hungry.  JNIore  than  once  I  wandered 
from  Tobolsk  without  changing  my  underclothing 
for  half  a  year  and  without  touching  my  flesh  with  my 
hands.  This  I  did  for  the  sake  of  experience  and 
trial.  Often  I  walked  for  three  days  at  a  stretch, 
eating  very  little.  On  hot  days  I  imposed  a  fast  on 
myself,  drank  no  kvass,  and  worked  with  the  laborers, 
at  intervals  running  into  the  bushes  to  pray.  I  liked 
to  walk  along  the  river-banks,  finding  consolation  in 
nature  and  thinking  of  the  Saviour  who  also  liked  to 
walk  near  streams.  Nature  is  a  teacher  of  wisdom, 
just  as  every  tree  teaches  of  spring. 

156       THE  MAD  MONK  OF  RUSSIA 

I  found  another  comfort  greater  than  all  other 
comforts  in  daily  readings  from  the  Gospel,  though 
I  did  more  thinking  than  reading.  Then  for  three 
years  I  wore  shackles,  but  the  evil  one  disturbed  me, 
saying,  "You  are  exalted;  you  have  no  peers."  The 
shackles  did  me  no  good,  but  when  I  discovered  the 
chains  of  love,  I  loved  everybody.  One  time,  when 
I  was  meditating  about  many  things,  it  suddenly 
dawned  upon  me  that  the  Lord  Himself  had  not 
chosen  a  palace,  but  a  poor  manger,  to  be  born  in; 
and  I,  the  unworthy,  got  the  idea  of  imitating  Him. 
I  dug  a  cave  in  the  stable  and  went  to  pray  there 
between  mass  and  matins.  Whenever  I  was  free 
during  the  day  I  would  retire  there,  and  I  found  that 
my  thoughts  did  not  scatter  in  the  narrow  place. 
Often  I  spent  my  nights  there,  too,  though  the  arch 
enemy  tried  to  drive  me  out  by  means  of  noise  and 
even  blows.  So  it  went  on  for  eight  years,  and  finally 
the  arch  enemy  sent  his  men  under  some  pretext,  and 
I  had  to  move  to  another  place. 

It  is  good  to  wander,  but  not  for  many  years.  I 
visited  many  a  pilgrims'  hostelry,  and  I  met  pilgrims 
who  had  wandered  not  only  for  years,  but  all  their 
life  long,  and  the  end  was  that  the  enemy  had  sown 
his  heresies  among  them,  poor  souls,  chief  among 
these  being  philosophizing.  They  had  become  so  lazy 
and  negligent  that  I  found  only  one  in  a  hundred 
following  in  the  footsteps  of  Christ  Himself.  We 
wanderers  fall  an  easy  prey  to  the  enemy.  Lassitude 
breeds  evil.     That  is  why  one  should  not  wander  too 

^^/>-f^ytt     YM^-c^i^-<!/^u-^    '/f^^iL-^^ ^^.^;L^,,*^i^^e/^^t^^^i^~/;/^^.J^^te^&^  ^ 

/i2/^^'/*/7>^^>^^*-^^i<^—      r^^  A-£^  c^^'Y^^^i-'^^-f'^-^^  A^-<- «.^««z^>A-^ 

i^^iL^yf^t^ C/  ^  ^ 

>-      r^"  "■"■  ■        <rf" '"^■■" "' ---•- -  .^-- -        - 

■ • 'T*- "■■  " 



Original  in  Father  Iliodor's  possession.  Translation  of  underlined  passage: — "I  have  been  in 
manv,  many  places.  I  have  been  among  courtiers,  officials,  and  Grand  Dukes,  and  even 
in  the  household  of  the  Romanoffs,  with  the  Little  Father,  the  Czar^everywhere " 


long  at  a  stretch,  unless  one  has  fortitude  and  power 
of  will  and  is  deaf  and  even  somewhat  dumb.  I  vis- 
ited many  monasteries  in  God's  name,  but  of  this  sort 
of  spiritual  life — that  is,  leaving  one's  wife  and  be- 
coming a  monk — I  do  not  approve.  Many  people 
I  saw  there,  but  they  did  not  lead  the  lives  of  monks. 
They  lived  as  they  pleased,  and  their  wives  did  not 
keep  the  vows  they  had  given  their  husbands.  That 
is  how  they  earn  eternal  damnation.  One  must  sub- 
ject oneself  to  severe  trials  in  one's  own  village  for 
years,  must  be  tried  and  experienced,  before  one  can 
live  this  life  properly.  But  it  is  hard  to  find  salva- 
tion among  laymen,  especially  nowadays,  when  every- 
body watches  those  who  are  seeking  salvation  as  if 
they  were  murderers,  and  ridicules  them.  More  than 
once  I  have  seen  people  exiled  who  in  their  gatherings 
spoke  of  God  and  lived  fraternally  in  godlj^-  love,  in 
accord  with  the  words  of  the  Saviour,  and  found  no 
fault  save  in  themselves,  sang  psalms,  and  read  them 
the  Gospel. 

But,  oh,  how  crafty  the  enemy  is,  how  shyly  he 
hunts  those  who  are  seeking  salvation!  Once  while 
on  a  ride  in  winter-time,  when  it  was  very  cold,  the 
enemy  whispered  to  me,  "Take  off  your  hat  and 
pray,  for  those  who  do  shall  succeed  in  what  they 
attempt."  I  took  off  my  hat  and  began  to  pray 
until  it  seemed  to  me  that  I  beheld  God  very  near  me. 
And  what  was  the  outcome?  I  caught  a  cold  in  my 
head,  and  then  I  was  taken  seriously  ill  and  had  a 
high  fever.     I  went  through  an  ordeal,  and  when  I 

160      THE  MAD  MONK  OF  RUSSIA 

got  over  it  I  fasted  and  prayed  to  atone  for  my  trans- 
gi*ession.  One  may  pray  in  the  open,  but  not  remove 
one's  hat  when  the  air  is  freezing.  Those  who  seek 
salvation  and  God  disinterestedly  will  fall  a  prey  to 
no  temptation  whatsoever,  but  will  gain  experience 
instead.  Only  after  such  temptation  one  must  add 
more  strength  and  act  with  reason,  not  forgetting 
oneself  and  soaring  too  high,  but  advancing  httle  by 
little,  as  becomes  a  true  zealot. 

One  must  be  careful  to  remember  God  while  at 
work,  and  especially  while  fishing.  One  may  think 
of  the  Saviour's  apostle  who  also  used  to  spread  nets. 
When  tilling  the  soil,  one  must  remember  that  work 
leads  to  salvation,  that  it  honors  the  flesh  and  saves 
the  soul.  It  is  necessary  to  say  our  Lady's  Prayer 
every  now  and  then,  and  if  one  happens  to  be  in  a 
thick  forest,  to  think  of  the  deserts  where  our  former 
fathers  of  the  church  used  to  save  themselves.  The 
enemy  grudges  those  who  seek  the  Lord  and  whom 
he  cannot  tempt  in  anything,  and  he  sends  illnesses 
to  overtake  them.  Those  who  pray  with  genuflec- 
tions get  pains  in  the  back,  and  those  who  wander,  in 
their  legs.  All  this  happens  at  the  enemy's  instiga- 
tion. Those  who  fast,  feel  an  inexpressible  thirst. 
Those  who  cross  themselves  sometimes  find  their 
hands  paralyzed.  Some  the  enemy  frightens  at  night 
with  all  kinds  of  noises  and  terrors  and  other  horrid 

My  early  life  was  a  long  succession  of  sicknesses; 
every  spring  I  used  to  spend  forty  sleepless  nights. 


Thus  I  lived  from  fifteen  to  thirty-eight  years  of  age. 
And  the  poor  state  of  my  health  accelerated  my  de- 
termination to  make  a  new  start  in  life.  Medical 
science  did  not  help  me.  The  Kieff  saints  cured  me, 
and  Simeon  the  Righteous  of  Verchoturje  gave  me 
strength  to  learn  the  way  of  truth  and  healed  my 
insomnia.  It  was  very  hard  to  bear  all  this,  and  there 
was  work  to  be  done,  but  the  Lord  used  to  assist  me  in 
my  labors,  and  I  myself  worked  without  hiring  any- 
body. When  I  began  to  travel  through  holy  places 
I  found  enjoyment  in  the  other  world.  I  visited 
many  a  prelate,  and  we  had  discussions,  and  they 
scrutinized  me  closely.  I  came  to  them  with  subdued 
and  humble  heart,  and  they  listened  to  my  simple 
words;  for  I  came  to  them  not  only  with  a  simple 
spirit,  but  by  God's  grace. 

Let  me  relate  one  more  of  the  experiences  and  trials 
of  my  life.  Once,  in  Peter's  Lent,  I  went  to  the 
island  to  gather  some  bast  and  dragged  it  more  than 
half  a  verst  to  the  lake  to  soak.  I  ate  a  little  bread, 
but  could  not  drive  away  the  gnats  and  gadflies.  At 
five  o'clock  in  the  evening  I  took  off  my  shirt  and 
prayed  to  Jesus  with  a  hundred  genuflections.  The 
detestable  enemy  made  me  feel  morose,  but  the  stings 
of  the  gnats  and  gadflies  did  me  good  and  taught  me 
endurance  and  patience.  That  is  why  I  do  not  ad- 
vise people  to  ask  for  miracles  or  to  undertake  great 
exploits,  but  rather  to  undertake  deeds  commensurate 
with  their  strength.  I  learned  to  suffer  blows  and 
bodily  tortures.     To  sleep  in  a  soft  bed  is  good  for 

162       THE  MAD  MONK  OF  RUSSIA 

refined  people,  but  it  is  sweeter  to  sleep  in  the  field 
on  a  hillock,  with  the  birches  near  by,  where  one  does 
not  miss  the  dawn.  I  used  to  plow  during  summer 
nights,  and  I  did  not  drive  away  the  gadflies.  I  let 
them  bite  my  flesh  and  suck  the  bad  blood,  saying  to 
myself:  "They,  too,  are  God's  creatures,  just  as  I 
am.  Had  not  God  created  the  summer  there  would 
have  been  no  gnats."  What  a  golden  life  the  peasant 
has,  feeding  even  the  gnats  for  God's  sake!  The 
peasant  is  ingenious  and  experienced.  His  soul  is 
alive,  and  he  goes  through  many  experiences;  only 
his  intellect  is  dormant,  because  he  does  not  go  to 
school.  One  thing  is  sure:  knowledge  is  with  God 
and  in  God;  it  consists  of  communing  with  the  Lord 
in  His  temple,  and  of  receiving  the  sacrament  three 
times  a  year.  If  you  preserve  all  that  is  in  you,  you 
will  meet  with  misfortunes  and  persecutions,  and 
priests  will  question  you;  but  God  gives  you  a 
strength  which  makes  their  dogmas  look  very  insig- 

I  wish  to  speak  briefly  about  my  benefactors.  It 
is  not  in  vain  that  the  Holy  Scriptures  say  that  good 
service  brings  reward.  God's  joy  has  dwelt  in  my 
sinful  being.  I,  a  common  peasant  in  quest  of 
donors,  traveled  from  the  government  of  Tobolsk 
with  one  ruble  in  my  pocket,  and  saw  gentlemen 
throwing  cake  into  the  Kama  River  while  I  was  half 
dead  with  hunger.  "The  dogs  eat  sugar,"  I  said, 
"and  I  have  not  even  a  pinch  of  tea."     Imagine  how 


I  felt !  I  went  to  Petrograd,  where  I  felt  like  a  blind 
man  on  the  road.  First  of  all  I  visited  the  Alexan- 
dro-Nevsky  Monastery  to  do  homage  to  the  relic  of 
the  saints.  With  me  I  had  a  bag  of  dirty  underwear. 
I  had  an  orphan's  Te  Demn  sung  for  three  copecks, 
and  paid  two  copecks  for  a  candle.  Leaving  the  mon- 
astery, I  betook  myself  to  Sergius,  bishop  of  the 
theological  seminary.  The  police  said  to  me,  "What 
do  you  want  of  the  bishop,  you  friend  of  the  raga- 
muffins?" With  God's  help  I  entered  through  the 
back  door  and  found  the  doorkeeper  with  the  aid  of 
the  porters.  The  doorkeeper  showed  his  kindness  by 
trying  to  throw  *me  out.  I  knelt  before  .him.  He 
divined  something  extraordinary  in  me  and  an- 
nounced me  to  the  bishop,  who  called  me  in,  scrutin- 
ized me,  and  engaged  me  in  conversation.  He  told 
me  about  Pfetrograd,  acquainting  me  with  its  streets, 
and  afterward  introduced  me  to  personages  of  high 
rank.  Thus  finally  I  reached  our  father  the  czar, 
who  favored  me,  understood  me,  and  gave  me  money 
for  a  church.  Overjoyed,  I  went  home  and  applied 
to  the  priests  for  the  erection  of  a  new  temple.  But 
the  enemy  hates  good  deeds,  and  before  I  had  reached 
home  he  already  tempted  everybody.  I  did  them  a 
favor  in  seeking  to  build  the  church,  and  they  sought 
to  accuse  me  of  such  pernicious  heresy  and  talked 
such  nonsense  that  it  is  impossible  for  me  to  express 
it  or  even  to  think  of  it.  So  strong  is  the  enemy  in 
harming  a  man^  so  little  does  he  appreciate  good  acts. 

164       THE  MAD  MONK  OF  RUSSIA 

They  accused  me  of  being  an  upholder  of  the  lowest, 
vilest  sects,  and  the  archbishop  did  all  in  his  power  to 
oppose  me. 

It  is  difficult  to  analyze  love  for  one  who  has  not 
experienced  it.  Love  is  such  a  golden  treasure  that 
nobody  knows  its  price.  Love  is  the  greatest  of  all 
God's  creations.  Whoever  understands  this  golden 
treasury  of  love  is  wiser  than  Solomon.  There  are 
two  kinds  of  priests,  those  hired  by  their  parishioners 
and  those  whom  life  itself  has  prompted  to  become 
shepherds  and  who  endeavor  to  serve  God.  And  the 
hirehng  always  criticizes  and  informs  against  the  true 
servant  of  God. 

God's  chosen  relish  perfect  love,  and  it  is  good  to  go 
and  listen  to  them.  They  speak  not  from  books,  but 
from  experience,  for  they  pay  the  price  of  love.  The 
enemy  interferes  and  tries  with  all  his  might  to  pre- 
vent man  from  grasping  love,  for  it  brings  trouble 
and  calamity  to  the  enemy  himself.  Therefore, 
brethren,  beware  of  the  enemy;  and  sisters,  think  of 
love,  the  golden  treasury  of  purity.  Keep  on  singing 
psalms  and  spiritual  songs.  The  miscreant  enemy 
looks  for  opportunities  and  incites  the  priests,  "It 
is  not  a  brotherhood  they  have ;  they  are  upholders  of 
sects."  But  we  shall  not  fear  evil  rumors.  We  shall 
continue  to  serve  God.  We  shall  sing  to  Him  and 
glorify  Christ,  and  above  all  we  shall  love  the  church 
and  receive  the  sacrament  as  often  as  possible. 

Thus  you  see  that  Rasputin  considered  himself  a 


great  ascetic,  excelling  every  one  in  the  knowledge  of 
holy  things.  Let  me  now  briefly  mention  certain 
very  well-known  personages  who  have  recorded  their 
complete  faith  in  the  "saint's"  opinion  of  himself. 

Madame  Lochtina,  in  the  voluminous  diaries  which 
she  kept  and  which  are  now  in  my  possession,  eulo- 
gizes the  great  Father  Gregory,  whom  she  finally 
calls  nothing  less  than  "the  law  incarnate."  Alex- 
ander Ericovich  Pistolkors,  gentleman  of  the  bed- 
chamber, whenever  I  met  him  invariably  spoke  of 
Gregory  as  "our  great  clairvoyant,  prophet,  and 
ascetic."  Varnava,  Bishop  of  Tobolsk,  on  the  day 
when  the  assassination  of  Rasputin  was  attempted, 
announced  before  everybody,  "Let  us  pray  for  the 
welfare  of  God's  devoted  servant."  Alexis,  the 
Exarch  of  Georgia,  when  requested  by  certain  priests 
to  curb  Gregory's  "saintly  activities,"  said:  "We 
should  not  lay  our  hands  on  God's  great  servant. 
Every  one  who  rises  against  him  will  call  forth  God's 
punishment."  Count  Witte  attested  before  every- 
body that  Gregory  was  "a  man  with  an  unusually 
lofty  soul."  Bontsh-Bruyevich,  the  well-known 
writer,  prophesied  that  Gregory  was  "the  dawn  of  a 
new  religious  revival  of  the  Russian  people." 

Need  I  say  that  Czar  Nicholas  and  Czarina  Alex- 
andra, in  their  appreciation  of  the  newly  risen  "saint," 
sometimes  excelled  all  his  other  admirers? 

I  personally  heard  the  czar's  opinion  of  Rasputin 
when  I  was  presented  to  him  at  the  palace  in  Tsarskoe 
Selo  on  May  21,  1911,  and  I  heard  Czarina  Alexan- 

166      THE  MAD  MONK  OF  RUSSIA 

dra's  opinion  when  I  was  presented  to  her  on  April 
3,  1909,  in  the  apartments  of  Anna  Viroubova. 
Nicholas,  with  unstrung  nerves,  blinking  his  lifeless, 
tired  eyes,  said  to  me,  word  for  word,  as  follows : 

"Tbou — you — thou — don't — touch  my  ministers. 
Didn't  Gregory  tell  you — tell  you?  Yes.  He — 
must  be  obeyed.  He  is  our — father  and  savior. 
We  must  adhere  to  him — ^yes.  God  has  sent  him — 
he  told  thee — you — that — you  must  work  mostly 
against  Jews,  Jews  and  revolutionists;  but  leave  my 
ministers  alone.  Their  enemies  attack  them  as  it  is. 
We  obey  Father  Gregory,  and  what  do  you  mean — " 
And  here  is  what  the  czarina  said  about  him : 
"Take  care  to  abide  by  Father  Gregory,  our  com- 
mon father,  savior,  instructor,  and  greatest  contem- 
porary saint." 



The  reader  has  now  heard  of  my  early  acquaint- 
ance with  Rasputin  and  of  the  steps  by  which  I  was 
led  to  break  with  him.  He  has  also  heard  Rasputin's 
own  story,  his  own  self -justification,  and  has  seen  how 
the  most  exalted  personages  of  Russia  accepted  at  its 
full  value  the  saint's  high  opinion  of  himself.  What, 
in  reality,  then,  was  this  man?  In  this  chapter  I 
purpose  to  remove  all  doubts.  When  I  have  shown 
the  true  nature  of  his  activities  at  the  court  of  the 
czar  and  the  czarina,  I  believe  the  reader  will  under- 
stand that  he  was  not  only,  as  the  word  "Rasputin" 
denotes,  dissolute,  but  was  indeed  the  devil  himself. 

It  may  seem  strange  that  an  uncouth  peasant,  an 
illiterate  imposter,  could  have  gained  an  entrance 
into  the  czar's  household  at  all;  but  the  fact  is  that 
Nicholas  it  quite  as  superstitious  as  the  most  ignorant 
muzhik  in  Russia.  In  order  to  understand  this,  my 
readers  must  form  some  idea  of  the  peculiar  character 
of  Slavic  mysticism. 

This  mysticism  is  inspired  in  Russia  by  three  ele- 
ments, the  climate,  the  geographical  situation  of  the 
country,  and  the  Russian  religion.  The  Russian 
Church  prescribes  a  season  of  Lent  which  stretches 


168       THE  MAD  MONK  OF  RUSSIA 

over  six  months  and  covers  the  greater  part  of  the 
winter  season.  During  these  long  winter  months, 
when  the  chmate  is  most  rigorous,  a  large  part  of  the 
Russian  population  is  under-nourished.  In  the 
autumn  it  rains  for  weeks  in  succession.  The  steppes 
are  gray  and  monotonous.  Dismal  forests  stretch 
over  hmidreds  of  miles.  All  these  conditions  com- 
municate themselves  to  the  underfed  brain,  which  im- 
perceptibly passes  over  into  a  brooding  melancholy 
that  crushes  the  individual  like  a  nightmare,  filling 
him  with  dead  inertia  and  hopeless  resignation. 

The  peasants,  when  stricken  by  this  melancholy, 
which  often  goes  over  into  sickness,  will  walk  miles 
and  miles  to  consult  a  sorcerer  or  a  wonder-worker, 
to  obtain  a  charm,  an  herb,  or  a  prayer.  From  this 
tendency  the  czars  themselves  have  never  been  ex- 
empt. Though  lords  of  vast  domains  and  masters 
over  millions  of  peoj^le,  they  have  notoriously  failed 
to  rise  above  their  melancholy  and  master  their  own 
moods.  Like  the  peasants,  they  have  alwaj^s  turned 
for  relief  to  seers  and  mystics,  and  although  they  have 
been  autocrats  of  the  purest  water,  they  have  never 
ceased  to  believe  in  the  divine  democracy  that  is  im- 
plicit in  the  Orthodox  Church.  All  religious  Rus- 
sians, in  short,  believe  that  the  prophetic  spirit  of  to- 
day comes  oftenest  to  the  peasant  at  the  plow,  to  the 
mendicant,  the  pilgrim  who  wanders  over  the  steppes, 
the  immense  grey  Russian  plains,  driven  on  by  a 
vague  longing,  in  search  of  holy  men  and  sacred  places. 


When  such  a  peasant  mystic  became  widely  known, 
he  generally  found  his  way  to  the  Russian  court.  If 
he  was  simple  and  honest,  the  wizard  would  give  the 
czar  his  blessing  and  depart ;  but  if  he  was  crafty  and 
cunning,  he  often  became  the  tool  of  one  or  another 
of  the  cliques  about  the  palace,  and  for  a  time  at  least 
exerted  influence  over  the  affairs  of  the  state.  The 
stories  of  all  the  Romanoffs  are  bound  up  with  occult- 
ists and  soothsayers,  which  partly  explains  their  ter- 
rible history.  And  Nicholas  was  one  of  the  w^eakest 
of  the  Romanoffs.  Rasputin,  therefore,  was  not  an 
isolated  figure;  he  was  simply  the  most  eminent  and 
powerful  of  a  large  group. 

From  the  year  1900  the  politics  of  the  Russian 
court  was  conducted  not  by  ministers,  but  by  various 
cripples,  lunatics  and  saints  brought  in  by  courtiers 
who  sought  through  their  medium  to  gain  influence 
with  Nicholas  and  Alexandra. 

On  the  days  when  Nicholas  received  his  ministers 
and  listened  to  their  reports,  scenes  like  this  would 
take  place  in  the  imperial  palace.  Through  the  main 
entrance  the  high  officials,  with  portfolios  in  their 
hands,  would  hurry  to  the  czar's  study,  while  at  the 
same  time  through  the  back  entrance  various  saintly 
idiots  of  both  sexes  would  crowd  into  the  imperial 
apartments.  They  were  filthy,  ragged,  barefooted 
cripples,  clad  in  quaint  attire.  The  soldiers  on  guard 
did  not  recognize  them,  and  they  were  not  officially 
admitted.     It  was  by  climbing  over  the  fence  and 

170      THE  MAD  MONK  OF  RUSSIA 

through  iron  bars  that  they  found  their  way  into  the 

While  the  czar  was  receiving  his  ministers,  this 
dirty  band  crowded  into  his  apartments.  They  en- 
tered the  bedrooms  and  played  with  the  czar's  chil- 
dren. They  pried  into  every  corner  and  filled  the 
kitchens.  As  soon  as  they  found  out  that  the  min- 
isters had  left,  one  by  one  they  filed  into  the  study, 
where  Nicholas  consulted  them.  Not  infrequently 
it  happened  that  their  mere  word  destroyed  all  the 
reports  and  schemes  of  the  ministers. 

Rarely  did  all  these  "prophets"  live  at  peace  among 
themselves.  They  were  constantly  engaged  in  in- 
trigues, trying  to  entrap  one  another  in  every  possible 
way.  Each  one  had  his  devotees  and  protectors 
among  the  courtiers  and  other  eminent  personages, 
and  a  bitter  struggle  went  on  among  them.  When- 
ever one  of  them  fell  into  disfavor  and  was  removed 
from  the  Court,  he  was  consumed  with  the  wild  anger 
and  burning  desire  for  vengeance  that  are  not  usually 
associated  with  holy  men  and  women. 

I  have  known  personally  several  of  the  czar's 
prophets  and  saints.  I  shall  enumerate  them  here  in 
chronological  order  as  they  made  their  debuts  at  the 
imperial  court. 

INIatronushka  the  Barefooted  heads  the  list.  She 
was  a  peasant  of  the  government  of  Petrograd,  and 
from  her  earliest  years  had  played  the  part  of  half 
idiot  and  half  saint.  She  used  to  go  barefooted  both 
in  summer  and  winter,  telling  fortunes  for  servant 


girls.  She  was  nearly  eighty  when,  to  the  disgust 
of  the  court  officials,  she  was  installed  in  the  czar's 
household.  Some  one  had  told  Nicholas  that  she 
foretold  future  events  with  great  accuracy.  He  im- 
mediately despatched  couriers  through  the  under- 
world of  Petrograd,  who  found  her  in  a  dirty  base- 
ment, in  the  poorest  quarter  of  the  city,  cooking  fish 
stew  for  supper.  From  that  day  on  she  had  free 
access  to  the  palace,  and  was  treated  with  the  respect 
of  a  member  of  the  imperial  household.  The  czar  and 
czarina  would  spend  hours  listening  to  her  insane  gib- 
berish, in  which  she  predicted  a  future  male  heir  to 
the  throne.  She  died,  if  I  am  not  mistaken,  in  1908, 
and  was  buried  in  the  Church  of  the  Holy  Virgin. 

Most  of  Nicholas'  saint-idiots  were  only  too  wise, 
at  least  in  their  own  affairs,  and  played  the  part  of 
fools  only  in  the  presence  of  others ;  but  I  believe  that 
Matronushka  was  a  genuine  idiot. 

Another  genuine  idiot  was  the  prophetess  Pasha 
Sarovskaya.  She  was  said  to  be  110  years  old,  and 
lived  at  the  Diveev  Monastery  in  the  forests  of 
Tambov.  When  the  czar  and  the  czarina  heard 
about  her  they  applied  all  the  means  at  their  command 
to  bring  her  to  Petrograd  and  make  her  their  court 
saint.  And  Pasha  would  not  hear  of  it,  and  Nicholas 
and  Alexandra  finally  went  to  her  for  a  visit.  Know- 
ing  her  reputation  for  saintliness,  they  wanted  to 
pray  to  her  for  a  son  and  heir  to  the  throne. 

This  occurred  during  the  celebration  of  the  uncov- 
ering of  the  remains  of  Saint  Seraphim  in  1901,  in 

172       THE  MAD  MONK  OF  RUSSIA 

which  two  hundred  and  fifty  thousand  pilgrims  from 
all  parts  of  Russia  took  part.  Seven  years  later  the 
mother  superior  of  the  monastery  told  me  about  the 
imperial  couple's  visit  to  Pasha.  I  shall  tell  the 
story  as  nearly  as  I  can  remember  in  her  own  words : 

"As  soon  as  I  was  informed  that  the  czar  and  the 
czarina  were  coming  to  see  Pasha,  I  brought  her  the 
news.  When  she  heard  it  she  began  to  curse  the  czar 
and  the  czarina,  calling  them  names  and  sending  them 
to  the  devil.     A  deathly  terror  came  over  me. 

"  'Pasha,'  I  began  to  implore  her,  'Pashenka,  what 
is  the  matter  with  you?  The  Little  Father  and  the 
Little  Mother  are  coming  to  see  you.  Won't  you  at 
least  have  pity  on  my  gray  head?'  And  Pasha  began 
to  shout: 

"  'I  am  going  to  beat  them.  I  shall  beat  them  with 
this  stick.' 

"I  fell  at  her  feet. 

" 'Pashenka,  pity  me!'  I  begged.  'Receive  the 
czar  decently.'  At  last  I  succeeded  in  calming  her 
and  began  to  feel  more  at  ease. 

"Finally  the  day  of  the  czar's  visit  came.  Three 
hours  before  the  czar  and  czarina  arrived,  I  went  to 
Pasha,  and  with  great  difficulty  persuaded  her  to  put 
on  a  nun's  dress.  I  virtually  had  to  force  her  to  do 
it.  The  czar  and  czarina  arrived.  They  asked  me  to 
take  them  to  see  Pasha.  I  ran  ahead  in  order  to 
receive  them  together  with  Pasha  at  the  door  of  her 
cell.     And  what  did  I  see?    Pasha  standing  at  the 


door  with  a  stick  in  her  hands  crying:  'Where  are 
they,  the  czars  ?  I  am  going  to  give  them  a  thrashing 
with  this  stick.' 

"I  prostrated  myself  at  her  feet  and  began  to  im- 
plore her. 

"  'Pasha,  pity  me,  poor  old  woman  that  I  am!' 

"Pasha  gave  me  a  wild  glance  and  put  away  the 
stick  in  the  corner. 

"Just  then  the  czar  and  the  czarina  approached  the 
cell.  They  held  out  their  hands  to  Pasha,  but  she 
turned  away  and  entered  the  adjoining  room,  in 
which  she  kept  all  her  sticks.  As  may  be  imagined, 
I  stood  there  more  dead  than  alive.  Presently  Pasha 
emerged  from  the  other  room  with  a  stocking  in  her 
hand  that  I  had  given  her  to  knit  in  hope  of  keeping 
her  in  good  temper.  She  looked  curiously  at  the 
royal  couple,  then  she  handed  the  stocking  to  the  czar, 
saying : 

"  'Knit  it!  Knit  it.  Little  Father!  It  is  a  stock- 
ing for  your  son.' 

"Then  suddenly  she  began  to  take  the  red 
candles  from  the  candlesticks.  I  thought  I  should 
go  mad  with  fright.  I  was  sure  she  intended  to  throw 
the  candles  at  the  czar  and  czarina,  but  instead  of  this 
she  collected  them  and  entered  the  adjoining  room. 
I  followed  her.     She  said, 

"  'Let  them  go  away;  otherwise  I  shall  give  them 
a  thrashing.'  I  returned  to  my  guests  and  told  them 
that  they  could  not  see  Pasha  again.     They  examined 

174      THE  MAD  MONK  OF  RUSSIA 

her  cell  once  more  and  left.  The  czarina  had  been 
pressing  Pasha's  gift  to  her  breast  and  kissing  it 

Having  told  this  remarkable  story,  the  mother  su- 
perior heaved  a  deep  sigh,  and  added : 

"Nobody  knows  about  this.  I  have  told  it  only  to 
you  out  of  respect  for  your  priestly  rank."  I  know 
that  at  the  time  I  left  Russia  the  czarina  still  pre- 
served Pasha's  stocking  as  a  sacred  relic. 

First  among  the  other  saints  and  idiots  was  the 
barefooted  wanderer  Vasili  Tkachenko.  He  was  a 
peasant  from  the  Kuban  region,  an  illiterate  soldier. 
He  was  old,  had  a  giant's  frame,  and  a  long  gray 
beard  reaching  to  his  waist.  Both  in  summer  and  in 
winter  he  went  barefooted,  without  a  hat,  in  a  light 
caftan.  In  order  to  prevent  his  feet  from  being 
frozen  off,  he  applied  fat  to  them.  As  for  his  body, 
he  kept  it  warm  by  a  liberal  consumption  of  vodka. 
When  he  came  to  Petrogi'ad  he  supported  himself  by 
going  about  among  the  cabmen,  teUing  stories  and 
acting  like  a  buffoon  for  their  amusement.  He 
always  carried  a  priest's  staff  in  his  hands,  which 
weighed  about  fifty  pounds  and  was  adorned  with  a 
silver  cross  at  the  head.  This  staff  caused  him 
numerous  persecutions  on  the  part  of  the  priests,  who 
grudged  him  possession  of  it.  Grand  Duke  Michael 
Nicolaievich  put  an  end  to  these  persecutions  by  ob- 
taining the  czar's  special  written  permit  allowing 
Vasili  Tkachenko  to  carry  his  staff,  and  Vasili  was 
careful  ever  after  to  have  the  permit  on  his  person. 


It  was  Grand  Duke  Michael  who  introduced  him  to 
the  court.  During  the  revolution  Vasili  gave  the 
czar  much  "useful"  advice  about  preventing  the  revo- 
lutionary propaganda  from  reaching  the  soldiers  and 
maintaining  a  rigid  discipline  in  the  army.  He  often 
sent  telegrams  to  the  czar  and  czarina  from  his  pil- 
grimages, and  they  would  reply  to  him  by  wire.  With 
these  telegi'ams  in  his  possession  he  intimidated  more 
than  one  governor  and  minister.  It  was  a  foolish 
incident  that  terminated  Vasili's  career  at  the  court. 
He  got  drunk  on  one  occasion  and  had  a  fight  with  a 
cabman.  His  star  was  extinguished,  and  he  was  no 
longer  admitted  to  the  palace.  It  goes  without  say- 
ing that  the  court  intrigues  of  other  saints  were  also 
largely  instrumental  in  his  downfall.  In  fact,  a  ru- 
mor was  current  that  it  was  a  new  star,  Mitia,  the 
Blissful,  who  had  overthrown  Vasili. 

Mitia  was  a  native  of  Kozelsk,  in  the  province  of 
Kaluga.  He  was  a  cripple  and  could  hardly  artic- 
ulate. He  was  introduced  to  the  court  by  the  inspec- 
tor of  the  theological  academy.  Archimandrite  The- 
ophanes.  He  was  a  frequenter  of  the  imperial  palace 
chiefly  during  the  revolution,  and  since  nobody  at 
court  could  understand  what  he  was  saying,  he  used 
to  come  with  his  own  interpreters.  In  his  conver- 
sations with  the  czar  and  the  czarina  he  would  knock 
his  fist  on  the  table  and  cry,  "Ah-ah,  fu,  ay-ay, 
ay-ay,  ay-ay!"  These  cow-like  bowlings  of  his  were 
a  source  of  many  misfortunes  for  a  whole  people, 
the    Jews,    for    "Ah-ah,    fu,    ay-ay!"    in    Mitia's 

176       THE  MAD  MONK  OF  RUSSIA 

vernacular  meant,  "Let  the  Cossacks  kill  the 
Zidi!"  By  the  word  "Zidi"  Mitia  meant  first  the 
Jews,  but  also  the  revolutionists.  Nicholas  blindly 
obeyed  Mitia,  and  used  to  issue  orders  to  the  minister 
of  war  and  the  minister  of  the  interior  to  carry  out 
the  prophet's  directions.  I  have  been  told  that  when, 
on  January  9,  1905  (Bloody  Sunday),  the  workers 
marched  to  the  czar's  palace  under  the  leadership  of 
the  Priest  Gapon,  it  was  at  the  order  of  Mitia  that 
they  were  fired  upon. 

In  the  aristocratic  salons  where  Mitia  had  free 
access  and  was  received  with  great  reverence  he  be- 
haved even  worse  than  in  the  palace.  I  once  met 
him  at  the  house  of  the  well-known  Countess  Igna- 
tieva.  Mitia  was  eating  a  soft-boiled  egg,  and  this  is 
how  he  did  it.  He  broke  the  shell,  poured  the  con- 
tents into  a  plate,  put  his  hand  into  the  plate,  and 
licked  the  egg  off  his  fingers.  When  he  got  through, 
he  wiped  his  hands  on  my  cassock,  saying,  "There  will 
be  a  lot  of  money  for  you,  a  lot  of  money."  Needless 
to  say,  despite  Mitia's  benediction,  I  recelived  no 
money  during  my  stay  at  Petrograd,  and  had  to  buy 
a  new  cassock. 

It  was  Rasputin's  appearance  at  court  that  brought 
about  Mitia's  downfall.  I  may  add  here  that  after 
he  was  discharged  he  began  to  keep  watch,  through  his 
friends  in  the  palace,  over  the  saint's  activities.  Be- 
sides this,  he  organized  a  kind  of  bureau  for  regis- 
tering women  who  in  one  way  or  another  had  suffered 


from  Gregory's  exploitation.     In  fact,  he  founded 
an  asylum  for  Gregory's  victims. 

All  this,  and  particularly  the  ascendancy  of  Ras- 
putin himself,  would  be  difficult  to  understand  were 
it  not  for  the  indisputably  pliable,  credulous,  abnor- 
mal, and  superstitious  nature  of  the  czar,  with  which 
many  trustworthy  European  writers  have  long  since 
familiarized  the  world.  Melancholy  and  ghost-ridden 
as  he  was,  in  constant  fear  for  his  life,  pursued  by 
invisible  hands,  it  was  natural  for  him  to  suppose  that 
God  spoke  to  him  through  idiots,  and  that  in  conse- 
quence these  idiots  should  often  have  influenced  the 
relations  of  Russia  vvith  foreign  powers.  Fetichism 
and  spiritualism  dominated  the  czar's  whole  existence. 
On  his  person  he  carried  all  sorts  of  charms  and  talis- 
mans, the  most  precious  of  which  in  later  years  was 
a  lock  of  Rasputin's  hau'.  He  wore  this  in  a  ring, 
and  gazed  upon  it  fixedly  before  making  any  momen- 
tous decision.  Naturally,  he  was  at  the  mercy  of 
every  kind  of  imposter.  Rasputin  admitted  to  me 
that  he  employed  tricksters  to  keep  "Papa"  in  an 
impressionable  frame  of  mind,  and  that  there  was 
another  way  in  which  he  maintained  his  power.  In 
my  first  interview  with  the  czar  I  noticed  that  his  left 
eye  and  the  left  side  of  his  face  twitched  almost  con- 
stantly. This,  like  his  epileptic  fits,  was  believed  to 
have  been  the  result  of  the  blow  on  the  skull  that  he 
received  at  the  hands  of  a  crazy  Japanese  policeman 
during  his  visit  in  Tokio  in  1891.     Rasputin  directed 

178       THE  MAD  MONK  OF  RUSSIA 

his  attention  to  this  weak  spot  in  the  czar's  head.  He 
massaged  the  scar  on  Nicholas'  skull  for  hours  at  a 
time,  murmuring  mystic  utterances  like,  "Rest!  restl 
Thy  guardian  angel  has  his  arms  around  thee,"  by 
this  process  giving  relief  to  the  nerve-racked,  addle- 
pated  monarch. 

Rasputin  gained  his  ascendancy  at  court  owing  to 
the  passionate  desire  of  the  imperial  family  for  an 
heir.  While  he  was  wandering  about  he  had  gained 
a  wide  notoriety  as  a  holy  man  long  before  his  appear- 
ance in  Petrograd,  and  having  come  to  the  capital 
he  was  welcomed  by  many  women  of  the  highest 
rank,  who  were  eager  for  his  kind  of  emotional  relig- 
ion, and  gladly  prostrated  themselves  in  darkened 
rooms,  kissing  the  feet  of  the  prophet.  It  was  the 
Grand  Duchess  Militza,  wife  of  the  czar's  cousin, 
daughter  of  King  Nicholas  of  Montenegro,  and  sister 
of  the  Queen  of  Italy,  who  introduced  him  to  the 
court.  "I  see  on  a  heavenly  cloud  the  child  that  will 
be  born  to  Russia,"  the  Grand  Duchess  Militza  had 
heard  him  say,  and  she  passed  this  on  to  the  czar  and 
the  czarina. 

True  to  Rasputin's  lucky  prophecy,  the  czarevitch 
was  born  in  1904.  The  result  was  that  Rasputin 
was  almost  worshiped  by  the  imperial  family.  To 
the  indignation  of  the  more  upright  of  those  who 
remained  at  court,  he  was  allowed  the  gi'eatest  inti- 
macy with  the  royal  children,  and  he  succeeded  in 
infecting  them  to  an  alarming  degree  with  his  pe- 
culiar, distorted  religiosity.    He  told  how  he  had 


"treated"  the  Grand  Duchess  Olga  for  her  infatu- 
ation for  a  certain  young  guardsman  whom  she  had 
seen  at  church.  He  said  that  he  made  her  kneel 
before  him  and  then,  passing  his  hands  over  her, 
prayed  in  a  wild  way,  crying,  "Devil,  devil,  I  com- 
mand thee  to  depart!"  He  boasted  that  in  this  way 
he  had  completely  cured  her. 

Having  once  enjoyed  the  luxury  of  court  life,  Ras- 
putin was  careful  not  to  lose  his  control  over  the 
source  of  these  blessings.  Occasionally,  as  the  czar- 
evitch grew  up,  the  empress  appeared  slightly  weary 
of  the  holy  man's  eccentricities.  It  was  for  this  rea- 
son that  Rasputin  entered  into  partnership  with  two 
other  court  personages,  who  were  also  anxious  to 
keep  in  favor,  in  order  to  carry  out  a  plot,  the  whole 
story  of  which  in  all  its  details  he  described  to  me  in 
the  most  shameless  way.  His  accomplices  were 
Mme.  Viroubova,  the  czarina's  lady-in-waiting,  and 
Dr.  Badmaeff ,  uuofucial  court  physician,  a  strange  un- 
scrupulous cynic  of  Tibetan  family,  closely  related  to 
the  Grand  Llama  of  Tibet,  enormously  wealthy,  and 
versed  in  the  mysteries  of  Oriental  medicine.  AVhen- 
ever  their  power  was  waning  or  they  needed  money, 
they  gave  the  little  czarevitch  a  yellow  powder  that 
made  him  ill  without  actually  endangering  his  life. 
Dr.  Badmaef  provided  the  powders  while  Rasputin 
and  Viroubova  found  opportunities  to  administer 
them.  Rasputin  once  told  me,  with  a  laugh,  that 
the  czar  and  czarina  had  neglected  him  of  late,  but 
that  the  "little  yellow  powder"  would  restore  their 

182       THE  MAD  MONK  OF  RUSSIA 

faith  in  him.  As  soon  as  the  czarevitch  became  ill, 
Viroubova  would  remind  Alexandra  that  the  saint 
alone  could  restore  him  to  health.  Rasputin  would 
appear,  and  the  illness  would  immediately  vanish, 
the  powders  having  been  discontinued.  Then  Ras- 
putin would  be  in  high  favor  again,  and  would  be 
allowed  everything  he  desired.  Every  one  knows 
that  the  ambitions  of  the  czar  and  the  czarina  had  for 
years  been  centered  in  the  birth  of  this  boy.  Any- 
thing that  affected  his  life,  therefore,  offered  an  easy 
means  of  playing  on  their  credulity,  weak-minded 
as  they  were  at  best.  "The  czarevitch  will  live  as 
long  as  the  prophet  is  honored  at  court,"  was  one  of 
Rasputin's  most  frequent  predictions.  It  was  borne 
out  by  the  fact  that  whenever  Rasputin  was  tempo- 
rarily under  a  cloud,  the  czarevitch  fell  ill.  Owing 
to  the  effect  of  this  continual  taking  of  drugs,  the 
czarevitch  can  never  become  a  normal  man.  His 
fragility  and  puniness  astonish  every  one  who  sees 
him.  His  face  is  colorless,  with  a  tendencv  to  become 
blue.  The  first  time  I  met  him  he  behaved  almost 
like  an  imbecile. 

But  it  was  Rasputin's  religious  orgies,  unholy 
mockeries  of  religion,  that  gave  him  his  greatest 
power  over  the  court.  Many  of  these  orgies  seem 
almost  unbelievable  in  modern  times. 

Let  me  sketch,  for  example,  the  practices  of  the 
mystical  sect  called  the  Chlysts,  notorious  in  Russia, 
to  which  Rasputin  belonged.  My  readers  may  then 
imagine  what  these  rites  became,  transferred  from 


their  2^easant  setting  to  the  luxurious  and  splendid 
court,  directed  by  Rasputin  and  shared  in  by  neurotic 
duchesses  and  other  ladies  and  favorites. 

The  fundamental  principle  of  the  Chlysts  is  that 
man  draws  nearer  to  God  by  mortifying  the  flesh. 
To  this  end  they  indulge  in  fantastic  dancing,  fasting, 
and  racking  their  nerves  to  the  point  of  exhaustion. 
The  sect  derives  its  name  from  the  Russian  word 
clilyst,  which  means  a  whip,  flagellation  being  one 
of  the  features  of  their  rites.  They  carry  this  to 
excess.  In  1890,  I  remember,  nineteen  Chlysts  were 
buried  alive  by  their  fellow-devotees,  who  were  seek- 
ing in  this  way  to  carry  the  mortification  of  the  flesh 
to  its  logical  extreme. 

The  worshipers  meet  at  night,  for  the  most  part 
without  clothes,  and  armed  with  switches.  In  the 
center  of  the  meeting-room  there  is  a  barrel  of  water ; 
^  unbleached  linen  covers  the  floor.  Occasionally  a 
fire  is  made  of  certain  herbs  that  produce  fantastically 
colored  lights.  The  devotees  crawl  toward  the  barrel, 
filling  the  air  with  strange  chants  and  ejaculations. 
Rasputin    repeated    one    of    these    chants    to    me: 

I  come  creeping — 
Creeping  over  new   linen; 
I  come  creeping, 
Seeking  the  new  Savior. 

The  worshipers,  male  and  female,  no  sooner  reach 
the  barrel  than  they  begin  splashing  water  over  one 
another  and  whipping  one  another,  the  excitement 

184       THE  MAD  MONK  OF  RUSSIA 

growing  every  moment  more  intense.  It  is  an  infer- 
nal scene,  the  air  filled  with  shouts,  howls,  cries, 
prayers,  and  exclamations  like:  "The  leader  is  com- 
ing! He  will  whip  you!  I  will  whip  you!  Whip 
me.  Brother!  Whip  me.  Sister!  Here  is  Jerusa- 
lem! O  Lord,  take  me!"  Then  they  beat  one  an- 
other to  a  state  of  unconsciousness.  They  lie  in 
heaps,  exhausted.  Many  die  as  a  result  of  these  beat- 
ings and  frantic  embraces ;  while  others  dash  out  into 
the  woods  naked,  and  later  are  found  dead  from  ex- 

A  decadent  society  forever  seeking  new  thrills, 
mainly  physical,  welcomed  these  ceremonies  and 
added  to  them  new  refinements  of  degeneracy. 
There  is  no  doubt  that  some  of  the  most  exalted  ladies 
of  the  empire  gave  themselves  up  to  the  Chlystic  rites, 
howling,  whipping  one  another,  throwing  themselves 
at  the  feet  of  Rasputin,  and  imploring  him  to  take 
them  in  his  arms.  According  to  Rasputin's  own 
story,  the  ceremony  at  court  was  begun  with  a  big 
banquet,  cold  eggs,  cucumbers,  and  caviar  being 
among  the  dishes  served,  which  Gregory  tasted  first 
of  all,  "in  order  to  make  them  holy."  An  altar  was 
erected  in  the  darkened  room.  There  were  prayers 
and  ravings.  Champagne  instead  of  water  was  used 
for  the  splashing,  and  while  they  whipped  one  an- 
other, Rasputin  admonished  them:  "Sin,  sisters!  Sin 
greatly,  that  you  may  confess  and  obtain  forgive- 
ness !"  There  is  no  question  that  many  of  the  women 
of  the  court  were  convinced  of  Rasputin's  divinity. 


Bishop  Hermogenes  of  Saratoff  told  me  that  on  one 
occasion  when  he  pointed  out  to  a  certain  important 
lady  of  the  court  that  Rasputin's  practices  were  obvi- 
ously wicked  and  perverse,  she  replied  with  indigna- 

"Gregory  is  a  saint.  Whatever  he  does  is  right 
and  holy." 

Another  of  Rasputin's  infamous  practices  was  a 
new  variety  of  "bath  ceremonial."  Having  in  former 
years  gone  for  long  periods  entirely  without  bathing 
in  order  to  acquire  merit,  he  now  carried  bathing  to 
the  point  of  voluptuous  excess.  The  Russian  bath, 
as  my  readers  know,  somewhat  resembles  the  Turkish 
bath,  and  all  palaces  and  large  houses  are  fitted  with 
the  most  elaborate  arrangements  for  it.  Of  what 
occurred  at  Rasputin's  bath  ceremonials  I  can  only 
hint  in  the  most  general  terms,  though  many  of  the 
scenes  that  occurred  there  have  been  described  to  me 
by  women  who  had  overcome  their  temporary  mad- 
ness. The  bath-room  was  filled  with  incense,  per- 
fumes, and  steam,  and  illuminated  with  dim  red 
lights.  There  was  at  first  the  usual  pretense  of  a 
rehgious  ceremony;  then  the  devotees  fell  on  one 
another,  striking  one  another  with  oak  twigs,  and 
uttering  wild  imprecations  and  prayers.  They 
drank  immense  quantities  of  champagne,  for  the 
exhausting  heat  of  the  steam  gave  them  an  insatiable 

Rasputin's  saintly  activity  consisted  chiefly  in  cur- 
ing people  of  libidinous  desires.     To  be  able  to  do 

186      THE  MAD  MONK  OF  RUSSIA 

this  was,  he  asserted,  a  great  gift  bestowed  upon  him 
by  God  himself  for  his  devout  exercises  of  fasting  and 
prayer.  Rasputin  treated  both  women  and  men, 
though  of  the  latter  the  only  two  instances  I  am  cer- 
tain of  were  Innocent,  bishop  of  Polotzk,  and  Czar 
Nicholas.  But  with  women  and  girls  he  seemed  to 
have  an  unlimited  field  for  his  "exploits,"  as  they 
came  to  be  called.  I  shall  mention  here  in  detail 
only  two  or  three  of  the  many  cases  that  came  to  my 
personal  attention. 

Chionia  Berlatzkaya,  daughter  of  a  rich  and  prom- 
inent general  and  the  widow  of  a  military  engineer, 
a  vei-y  beautiful  woman,  became  acquainted  with  the 
saint  before  he  had  brought  his  special  medicaments 
to  Petrograd.     At  first  the  cure  progressed  well. 

C followed  Gregory  everywhere,  visited  him  at 

Poksrovskoye,  and  recorded  from  his  dictation  "The 
Life  of  an  Experienced  Pilgrim,"  which  I  possess  in 
manuscript  and  have  quoted  in  a  previous  chapter  of 
this  book.  Then  something  went  wrong  with  their 
friendship ;  she  left  Gregory,  confessed  before  Bishop 
Theophanes,  and  wrote  a  whole  book  about  Raspu- 
tin's exploits,  which  she  submitted  to  the  czar.  The 
reader  is  already  familiar  with  the  fate  of  this  book. 

C ,  accounting  for  the  break,  declared  that  once 

on  the  way  to  Poksrovskoye,  when  she  was  alone  with 
the  saint  in  a  first-class  carriage,  he  seized  her  and 
began  to  hug  and  kiss  her  as  if  she  were  his  wife. 
Afterward  he  came  over  to  her  and  said : 

"Well,  darling,  are  you  feeling  badly?    Do  you 


think  I  haven't  treated  you  right?  You  must  not 
think  so ;  it 's  a  sin.  I  saw  the  devil  come  out  of  you 
and  jump  through  the  window,  so  help  me  God! 
I,  too,  will  pray  with  you."     This  was  their  last 

prayer  together.     Soon  afterwards  C made  the 

whole  aifair  public  and  left  the  saint. 

Gregory,  of  course,  without  fear  or  reproach,  went 
out  in  search  of  new  patients  for  himself.  Chief 
among  these  was  Olga  Vladimirovna  Lochtina,  whose 
name  appears  so  often  in  this  book  that  it  is  neces- 
sary for  me  to  speak  of  her  in  detail. 

Mme.  Lochtina  was  the  wife  of  a  counselor  of 
state.  She  was  a  proud,  clever,  highly  educated 
woman  of  unusually  stubborn  disposition  who,  before 
her  acquaintance  with  the  saint,  had  been  considered 
virtually  the  first  lady  in  society  for  her  beauty  and 
her  exquisite  gowns.  She  devoted  herself  to  Raspu- 
tin partly,  at  least,  in  order  to  acquire  with  him  power 
over  the  czar  and  the  czarina,  and  inasmuch  as  only 
"prophets"  and  "prophetesses"  could  exert  this  influ- 
ence, she  soon  began  to  play  the  part  of  one  of  these. 
She  left  her  husband,  her  two  sons,  and  her  daughter 
Lada,  and  began  to  wear  queer  dresses,  decorating 
herself  from  head  to  foot  with  all  kinds  of  ribbons, 
crosses,  and  ikons.  She  wore  a  hat  of  camel's  hair 
with  the  inscription,  "In  me  lies  all  power.  Halle- 
lujah!" In  this  attire  she  would  come  to  the  palace, 
where  she  spent  all  her  time  drinking  tea  with  the 
imperial  family,  and  interpreting  the  wise  sayings  and 
prophecies    of   Father    Gregory.     She    drew    from 

188      THE  MAD  MONK  OF  RUSSIA 

Nicholas  and  Alexandra  an  income  of  from  fifteen  to 
twenty  thousand  rubles  a  year.  She  was  known  in 
court  circles  as  "Holy  Mother  Olga." 

When  Rasputin  found  a  more  acceptable  lieuten- 
ant in  Anna  Viroubova,  the  czar  and  the  czarina  had 
to  part  with  Mme.  Lochtina,  for  the  saint's  orders 
outweighed  all  personal  attachments  and  sympathies. 
She  reconciled  herself  to  this  turn  of  fate  and  contin- 
ued to  follow  Rasputin,  keeping  a  most  detailed  rec- 
ord of  his  activity  and  expressing  in  her  diaries  her 
profound  worship  of  his  personality.  Six  volumes 
o?  these  diaries  are  now  in  my  possession,  and  I  am 
indebted  to  them  for  much  of  my  information  about 
Rasputin's  activities.  On  the  ground  of  an  alleged 
prophecy  of  Dostoyevsky  that  God  himself  would 
come  in  our  days  to  save  Russia  in  the  guise  of  an 
humble  peasant,  Lochtina  imagined  Gregory  to  be 
the  Lord  of  Hosts  and  herself  the  Holy  Virgin.  All 
the  efforts  of  Bishop  Hermogenes  and  myself  to 
prove  to  her  the  sacrilegiousness  of  her  teachings  were 
of  no  avail.  She  finally  insisted  on  her  theory. 
Even  Rasputin  tried  to  persuade  her  that  he  was  not 
God,  and  ^vrote  to  her,  "I  beg  you,  stop  dreaming," 
and,  "Stay  more  at  home,  speak  less,  do  not  seek  God 
on  earth  in  the  twentieth  century."  It  made  no 
difference.  She  kept  on  preaching  before  everybody 
that  Gregory  was  God  incarnate.  The  saint's  wife 
was  very  jealous  of  Lochtina,  and  there  were  family 
scenes  on  her  account.  Both  Gregory  and  Paras- 
kovia  emphatically  denied  it,  but  Lochtina,  describing 


in  her  diaries  her  stay  at  Poksrovskoye,  states  that 
Paraskovia  Theodorovna  beat  her  and  drove  her  out- 
side the  gate,  shouting,  "I  won't  let  you  kiss  Father 
Gregory  again!"  Despite  everything,  Lochtina  en- 
joyed the  full  respect  of  tlie  imperial  family.  I 
have  the  original  of  the  telegram  from  the  yacht 
Standard  in  which  they,  over  Viroubova's  signature, 
"Anna,"  congratulated  her  on  her  name-day.  The 
telegram  was  sent  on  July  12,  1913. 

Later  Lochtina  lived  in  my  neighborhood,  which 
displeased  Rasputin  very  much.  He  wrote  her  many 
scolding  letters  about  it.  Here  is  a  transcript  of 
one  of  them: 

You  frightful  woman,  you  accursed  carrion,  why  do  you 
live  near  Sergius  the  renegade?  He,  the  devil,  deserves 
anathema,  anathema,  anathema.  And  you,  vile  creature, 
stay  there.  I  '11  smash  your  face  till  you  bleed.  Yes, 
Gregory.     Yes ! 

It  was  Anna  Viroubova,  the  elder  daughter  of  A. 
S.  Taneyev  and  lady-in-waiting  to  the  czarina,  a 
young  and  very  pretty  woman,  who  succeeded  Loch- 
tina in  the  saint's  affections.  According  to  him,  she 
left  her  husband  because  he  used  to  beat  and  torture 
her.  The  real  reason  probably  lay  in  the  fact  that 
the  czarina  had  taken  such  a  liking  to  her  that  she 
could  scarcely  eat  or  sleep  without  her.  It  became 
necessary  to  get  rid  of  her  husband.  How  was  this 
to  be  done?  The  saint  appeared  and  arranged  every- 
thing. He  "expelled  the  devil"  from  her,  and  she 
forgot  her  husband.     Then  Viroubova  settled  near 

192       THE  MAD  MONK  OF  RUSSIA 

the  palace  at  Tsarskoe  Selo  in  a  small,  modest  apart- 
ment where  the  saint  made  his  headquarters  and 
where,  as  my  readers  know,  I  was  presented  to  the 
czarina.  All  the  personal  letters,  telegrams,  and 
orders  of  the  czar  and  the  czarina  passed  from  Ras- 
putin through  Viroubova.  She  performed  her  duties 

I  now  wish  to  give  you  a  few  instances  of  the  power 
that  Gregorj'^  Rasputin  exercised  in  the  affairs  of 
church  and  state.  I  mention  only  cases  of  which  I 
have  close  personal  knowledge.  I  have  in  my  posses- 
sion documentary  proofs  of  the  majority  of  these 

Everybody  knows  how  excited  Russia  was  when  the 
press,  reactionary  and  progressive  alike,  carried  on 
a  many-sided  discussion  about  the  causes  of  Hermo- 
genes's  exile  to  the  monastery  of  Jirovitsky  and  mine 
to  the  Floritshev  Hermitage.  I  shall  tell  my  readers 
about  this  in  the  next  chapter.  Everybody  agreed 
that  our  exile  was  the  saint's  doing.  Everj'^body  felt 
highly  indignant  over  it. 

Under  the  pressure  of  public  opinion,  the  Imperial 
Duma,  discussing  in  Febi-uary  or  March,  1912,  the 
budget  of  the  Holy  Synod,  sharply  questioned  the 
part  Rasputin  had  been  playing  in  church  and  state 
affairs.  On  this  occasion  many  speeches,  full  of 
passion  and  indignation,  were  delivered.  Stirred  by 
these  speeches  the  Duma  resolved  to  send  immediate 
inquiries  about  the  saint's  activities  to  the  minister  of 
justice,  Scheglovitov,  and  the  minister  of  the  inte- 


rior,  Makarov.  The  inquiries  were  submitted,  and 
every  one  breathed  a  sigh  of  relief,  expecting  that 
they  would  result  in  the  indictment  of  Rasputin,  who 
was  felt  to  be  fatal  both  for  Russia  and  for  the  dy- 

But  the  whole  affair  suddenly  came  to  naught,  was 
hushed  up,  died.  At  first  the  people  were  amazed; 
later,  as  usual,  they  forgot  all  about  it. 

It  was  in  1913,  when  perusing  Lochtina*s  diaries, 
that  the  question  as  to  why  nothing  had  been  heard 
of  these  inquiries  became  clear  to  me.  I  discovered 
that  while  the  Duma,  in  a  high  state  of  excitement, 
was  making  its  inquiries,  the  holy  man  was  sitting  at 
Poksrovskoye  and  scribbling  the  most  unthinkable 
scrawl  to  "Papa"  and  "Mama."  A  copy  of  this  let- 
ter, as  well  as  of  many  other  celebrated  letters,  Loch- 
tina  recorded  in  her  diaries,  probably  to  a  certain  ex- 
tent correcting  Rasputin's  spelling. 

Here  is  the  letter: 

Darling  Papa  and  Mama: 

The  cursed  devil  is  overpowering.  And  the  Duma  serves 
him.  It  contains  many  revolutionists  and  Jews.  What  do 
they  care?  All  they  want  is  to  overthrow  the  anointed  sov- 
ereign. And  their  boss,  Guchkov,  slanders  and  sows  sedition. 
Inquests !  Papa,  the  Duma  is  yours ;  you  may  do  with  it 
anything  you  please.  Don't  heed  any  inquests  about 
Gregory.  It 's  the  devil's  mischief.  Give  your  orders.  No 


After  this  letter,  the  inquests  were  taken  off  the 

194       THE  MAD  MONK  OF  RUSSIA 

order  of  the  day  and  buried.     I  should  like  to  add 

here  Rasputin's  general  opinion  of  the  Duma  as  I 

frequently  heard  him  express  it.     I  used  to  ask  him: 

"How  about  the  Duma?    Does  n't  it  embarrass  the 


^'Nonsense!  Nastiness!"  he  would  reply.  "Wlio 
is  going  to  listen  to  the  Duma?  Papa  assembled  a 
few  dogs  there  so  that  the  other  dogs  would  stay 
where  they  belong  and  stop  barking.  And  I  tell  him 
all  the  time  that  the  Duma  is  entirely  unnecessary. 
But  he  seems  to  be  afraid.  There  is  going  to  be 
trouble.  Well,  I  '11  see  to  it  that  there  will  be  no 

During  the  Turco-Balkan  War  the  question  of 
Russia's  interference  in  the  conflict  of  the  Slavs  and 
the  Turks  became  very  acute.  Everybody  expected 
decisive  steps  on  Russia's  part  in  favor  of  her  Balkan 
brethren,  but  nothing  happened.  What  was  the 
cause?    Here  it  is. 

I  was  in  confinement  then.  Lochtina  came  to  the 
Floritshev  Hermitage.  As  her  habit  was,  she  walked 
over  to  the  window  of  my  cell,  facing  the  forest. 

"Where  have  you  come  from,  Olga?"  I  asked. 

"From  Poksrovskoye.  I  've  been  there  all  the 
time."  She  opened  her  diaries  and  began  to  read  in 
the  guards'  presence  how  she  spent  her  time  visiting 
the  saint. 

I  interrupted  her. 

"Olga,  have  you  read  the  papers?"  I  asked.  "How 
about  the  war?" 


"What  could  there  be  about  the  war?  They  are 
fighting,  and  Father  Gregory's  view  of  the  situation 
is  well  known:  'Russia  must  not  interfere  because 
there  is  trouble  at  home;  there  are  many  internal 
enemies.' " 

"What  has  that  rascal's  opinion  to  do  with  it?"  I 
purposely  emphasized  my  negative  relation  to  Greg- 

Lochtina,  as  though  not  hearing  that  epithet  with 
regard  to  her  "Lord  of  Hosts,"  continued  imperturb- 

"And  the  royal  family  have  already  been  notified 
about  his  view.  Of  course,  they  won't  dare  disobey." 
Russia  did  not  interfere. 

And  here  is  what  Gregory  himself  told  me  about 
the  Russian-Japanese  War  while  I  was  staying  with 
him  at  Poksrovskoye : 

"Papa  sent  Witte  somewhere,  I  don't  know  where, 
to  conclude  peace  with  the  Japanese.  Well,  in  the 
evening,  at  about  ten  o'clock  I  go  out  through  this 
gate,  and  it  is  so  dark,  so  dark !  I  look  upward  and, 
behold!  the  Holy  Virgin  in  heaven,  with  swords  in 
her  hand,  turns  from  the  Russians  to  the  Japanese! 
I  say  to  myself,  'This  means  we  are  going  to  be  vic- 
torious now.'  I  run  to  the  station  and  wire  in  my 
own  words  that  Papa  and  Mama  should  conclude  no 
peace,  but  wait  for  me.  I  received  an  answer  that 
they  could  not  wait  more  than  three  or  four  days.  I 
went  to  them,  but  the  train  was  late.  When  I  got 
there  Witte  had  already  concluded  peace." 

196       THE  MAD  MONK  OF  RUSSIA 

When  Rasputin  finished  this  stupendous  story,  his 
wife  Paraskovia,  who  was  present  at  our  conversation, 

"I  have  your  letter,  Father,  which  you  sent  us  from 
Tumen  with  the  news  that  you  missed  the  train." 

At  my  request  she  brought  me  the  letter,  and  I 
asked  Rasputin's  permission  to  take  it  as  a  souvenir. 
It  is  now  preserved  among  my  documents  relating  to 
this  book.  Had  the  saint  arrived  on  time,  another 
hundred  thousand  or  more  of  our  brothers  would  have 
fallen  on  the  fields  of  Manchuria.  Whether  victory, 
as  the  saint  predicted,  would  have  been  won  or  not  is 
of  course  hard  to  say,  and  to  take  his  word  for  it  is 
rather  risky.  But  is  it  not  astonishing,  such  an  easy, 
saintly  way  of  solving  complicated  and  awful  ques- 
tions involving  hundreds  of  thousands  of  precious 
human  lives? 

The  ministers  were  like  snow  in  Rasputin's  hands. 

Having  returned  me  from  Minsk  to  Tsaritzin, 
Gregory,  according  to  his  own  words,  insisted  on  the 
removal  of  Sergius  Lukjanov  from  the  post  of  high 
procurator  of  the  Holy  Synod.  But  Lukjanov  was 
not  removed  because  Rasputin  had  no  suitable  person 
to  replace  him  with  just  then.  When,  however,  the 
emperor,  principally  upon  Gregory's  order  from 
Jerusalem,  returned  me  from  Novosil  to  Tsaritzin, 
Lukjanov,  the  protege  of  Stolypin,  was  immediately 

This  Is  how  the  saint  spoke  to  me  about  it: 

"I  told  Papa  and  Mama  that  it  was  necessary  to 


chase  away  Lukjanov,  Stolypin's  hanger-on,  and 
that  they  were  too  slow  about  it;  that  if  they  had 
obeyed  me  there  would  have  been  no  such  scandal 
with  you.  That  was  all  Lukjanov's  doing,  and  he 
must  be  discharged.'* 

In  his  place  Rasputin  put  Wladimir  Sabler. 
After  Sabler,  Rasputin  promoted  to  the  post  of 
assistant  high  procurator  Piotr  Damansky,  an  up- 
start, a  sly,  pliant  man,  ready  to  sacrifice  everything 
for  his  career.  In  the  exile  which  befell  Hermogenes 
and  me  for  unmasking  Rasputin,  Damansky  played  a 
conspicuous  part.  He  did  everything  in  his  power 
for  Rasputin,  whose  great  friend  he  was,  although 
he  was  fully  aware  of  all  the  saint's  obscene  activities. 
Whenever  newspaper  men  asked  him,  "What  is  the 
Synod  going  to  do  about  the  exploits  of  Gregory 
Ephimovich?"  Damansky  would  reply,  "All  those 
exploits  are  buried  in  oblivion." 

Rasputin's  dearest  friend  was  Count  Witte,  whom 
he  always  called  "Wittia."  Whenever  he  came  to 
Petrograd  he  called  on  Witte  without  fail,  and  Witte 
also  came  to  see  him.  Rasputin  considered  Witte  a 
very  clever  and  noble-hearted  man,  and  Witte,  in  his 
turn,  down  to  his  last  days,  knowing  of  Gregory's 
exploits,  insisted  that  Rasputin's  was  a  lofty  soul, 
that  he  was  a  man  of  great  virtues  and  exceptional 

For  a  long  while,  dating  from  the  time  of  Witte's 
downfall  at  court,  the  saint  had  been  endeavoring  to 
obtain  a  high  position  for  Witte;  but  his  efforts  had 

198       THE  MAD  MONK  OF  RUSSIA 

been  in  vain.  In  1912,  when  I  was  at  the  Floritshev 
Hermitage,  G.  P.  Sazonov,  who  must  have  caught  the 
spirit  of  prophecy  from  Rasputin,  said  to  my  brother 
Apollo : 

"Just  wait.  Gregory  Ephimovich  will  soon  make 
Witte  premier  and  replace  the  old  ministers  by  new 
ones,  and  then  will  come  the  end  of  Hermogenes  and 
Iliodor  for  their  revolt  against  the  autocracy.  Witte 
will  teach  them  a  lesson." 

In  1914,  the  new  ministers,  if  not  Witte,  went  far 
indeed  in  this  direction. 

Count  Tatischev,  while  governor  of  Saratoif, 
persecuted  me  relentlessly  for  unmasking  the  mer- 
cenary representatives  of  the  Government  and  noble- 
men in  general.  Together  with  Stolypin,  he  kept 
scheming  to  remove  me  from  his  province,  from 
Tsaritzin.  About  this  he  wrote  a  memorable  letter 
to  the  czar.  Finally,  at  Gregory's  orders,  he  was  re- 
moved from  his  post  and  obhged  to  retire  "to  milk 
the  cows  and  count  the  chickens,"  as  Rasputin  put 

A  year  elapsed.  I  began  my  struggle  with 
Gregory  himself.  Seeking  vengeance,  the  saint 
began  to  collect  from  their  secluded  nooks  the 
administrators  whom  he  had  formerly  "punished" 
on  account  of  me.  Thus,  soon  after  my  banishment 
to  the  Floritshev  Hermitage,  Count  Tatischev  re- 
ceived the  high  appointment  of  chief  of  the  press  de- 

In  1913,  when  I  had  retired  to  my  birthplace,  I 


solved  the  (puzzle.  In  Mme:  Lochtina's  diaries  I 
found  a  copy  of  the  following  letter  from  Rasputin 
to  the  imperial  family: 

My  darlings : 

Mistakes  must  also  be  corrected,  and  God's  grace  will 
be  with  us.  Count  Tatischev  was  exasperated  because  of 
the  rebels.  Now  we  must  be  nice  to  him  and  give  him  a  high 
post.  I  myself  used  to  be  against  him,  but  am  no  longer. 
I  was  mistaken  in  Hermogenes  and  Iliodor.     So  it  is. 


The  saint's  foremost  and  strongest  enemy  among 
the  ministers  was  Stolypin.  Stolypin  would  not 
leave  the  "poor  ascetic"  alone,  but  pestered  him  with 
his  secret-service  men.  Rasputin  conceived  the  most 
violent  hatred  for  Stolypin,  whom  he  sought  to  over- 
throw, hoping  to  appoint  his  friend  W.  N.  Ko- 
kovzev,^  in  his  place.  The  saint's  desire  became  so 
intense  that  he  could  not  restrain  himself  any  longer 
and,  according  to  his  own  words  quoted  to  me  in 
December,  1911,  he  "predicted"  on  August  24  of 
that  year  the  appointment  of  Kokovzev  as  Premier. 
But  about  Stolypin?  Seven  days  later  he  was 
assassinated  in  the  theater  at  Kieff . 

The  question  of  Stolypin's  assassination  has  not 
yet  been  solved.  I  do  not  undertake  to  solve  it, 
because  that  is  not  my  specialty,  but  I  recommend 
the  task  to  the  famous  Vladimir  Burtzeff ,  the  worthy 
and  disinterested  foe  of  czarism,  who  exposed  Azeff. 
Let  him  busy  himself  with  Stolypin's  assassination 

1  Kokovzev  became  Premier  in  1913. 

200       THE  MAD  MONK  OF  RUSSIA 

and  make  clear  what  part  the  saintly  prediction, 
seven  days  before  Kokovzev  became  premier,  played 
in  it.  Meanwhile,  I  will  go  on  with  my  proper 
task,  proving  by  facts,  and  facts  alone,  that  Gregory 
was  not  only  the  Emperor  of  Russia,  but  also  the 
Patriarch  of  the  Russian  Church.  The  following 
cases  show  him  in  the  latter  role: 

Grand  Duke  Nicholas  Nicolaievich,  although,  ac- 
cording to  the  testimonj^  of  A.  I.  Dubrovin,  he  had 
a  passionate  friendship  for  an  actress,  hesitated  to 
live  without  the  Church's  blessing  with  Anastasia 
Nicolaievna,  daughter  of  the  King  of  Montenegro. 
As  soon  as  he  became  intimate  with  her  he  began 
to  petition  for  a  license  to  marry.  He  applied  to 
Metropolitan  Anthony,  who  refused.  He  applied  to 
the  Synod,  with  the  same  result.  Then,  according 
to  Rasputin,  he  applied  to  the  Patriarch  of  Con- 
stantinople, only  to  be  refused  again.  The  grand 
duke  was  annoyed,  and  "Nastia,"  as  the  saint  always 
called  her,  was  wasting  away  with  sorrow.  She  was 
ashamed  to  live  with  the  duke  without  wedlock. 

Then  Rasputin  interceded  and  helped  them  out. 
He  said  to  them: 

"You  will  be  carrying  on  anyway;  you  had  better 
go  to  Livadia  and  arrange  for  a  quiet  wedding 

Thej^  went,  with  Gregory's  blessing. 

Thus  the  saint  proved  to  be  higher  and  more  power- 
ful than  the  patriarch  himself.  The  patriarch, 
despite  the  handsome  sum  of  money  he  would  have 


received  for  his  "blessing," — something  Greeks  are 
very  fond  of, — did  not  dare  to  break  the  church 
laws  prohibiting  two  brothers  to  marry  two  sisters. 
But  the  saint  did  dare  for  the  consideration  of  a 
six-hundred-ruble  Persian  rug!  The  reader  will 
remember  this  rug  in  a  previous  chapter  of  mj^  book. 
Shortly  after  the  wedding,  Nastia  turned  the  saint 
out,  and  ceased  presenting  him  with  gifts.  She  had 
got  what  she  was  after,  and  would  have  nothing  more 
to  do  with  Gregory. 

Archimandrite  Theophanes,  an  enlightened  ascetic, 
presented  the  saint  at  court  and  was  on  friendly 
terms  with  him  for  several  years.  He  used  to  take 
his  advice  in  the  most  trivial  matters.  He  would 
ask  Gregory,  for  instance,  what  color  of  socks  to 
buy.  Rasputin  paid  Theophanes  very  liberally  for 
his  friendship.  He  promoted  him  to  a  bishopric  and 
made  him  rector  of  the  first  theological  seminary  in 
Russia  and  the  czar's  confessor. 

Theophanes  had  been  confessor  for  two  years 
when,  visiting  Gregory  at  Poksrovskoye,  he  began 
to  see  that  something  was  wrong.  On  his  return 
to  Petrograd  he  confessed  a  few  of  the  ladies  and 
young  girls  whom  Gregory  had  "consecrated." 
Then  the  devil  of  hatred  against  Gregory  took  posses- 
sion of  him.  As  a  God-fearing  and  honest  man, 
Theophanes  rose  against  Rasputin.  He  told  the 
czarina  about  the  saint's  exploits,  and  said  that  he 
ought  to  be  removed  from  the  court  and  confined 
at  Poksrovskoye.     But  the  czarina  is  not  a  faol;  she 

202       THE  MAD  MONK  OF  RUSSIA 

was  not  to  be  caught  in  a  trap  by  Theophanes.  She 
dismissed  him  abruptly.  He  was  then  expelled  from 
the  seminary  and  banished  first  to  the  Tavrida 
diocese,  then  to  Astrachan,  and  finally  to  Poltava. 

The  saint  on  meeting  me  shortly  afterward  spoke 
of  Theophanes  thus: 

"The  accursed  one  will  rot  away,  he  will.  He  '11 
rot  away  alive.  The  loophole  is  closed — closed  for- 

"How  can  you  talk  that  way  about  a  bishop?"  I 
asked  indignantly. 

"Why  did  he  sling  mud  at  me?  But  he  didn't 
succeed — he  only  drowned  himself  in  the  mire." 

At  the  time  of  the  banishment  of  Bishop  Hermo- 
genes  and  myself  the  following  were  sitting  in  the 
Synod:  Metropolitans  Vladimir  of  Moscow  and 
Flavian  of  Kieff,  Archbishops  Seraphim  of  Tver, 
Anthony  of  Volhynia,  Sergius  of  Finland,  Nazarius 
of  Odessa,  and  Nickon,  formerly  of  Vologda.  They 
were  all  trying  to  play  into  the  hands  of  Nicholas 
and  Alexandra,  being  well  aware  that  the  latter,  as 
the  reader  shall  see  from  the  next  chapter,  had  exiled 
us  solely  for  exposing  their  prophet  Rasputin.  Soon 
afterward  all  these  prelates  received  rewards  from 
Nicholas  and  Alexandra,  not  all  at  once,  but  one 
after  another,  at  short  intervals  of  time.  Vladimir 
received  a  benevolence,  and  Flavian  a  candle  for  use 
during  service;  Anthony  was  made  permanent 
member  of  the  Synod,  Sergius  was  given  a  diamond 
cross  for  his  cowl,  Nazarius  received  the  order  of  St. 

/j     __  l^^ya^r/i^ 


3.)    ^^^^'Zi-T^^.-.i^z^:/^.?-/^- 

^C-tA^i^^x-K.'ir-  /^i,'«--^--T.c£|^-<3^^^i--i.-#-A^  ;4lt^-*C> 


'  /^DL^}C-<f-iA.^d<-^ 

v^^^Z,^^^,?-,^-^*^  ^■fl-r/l£-^-<l'^-^--r- 




6,J  L^v~.L^  ^^^^' 


Six  volumes  of  these  original  diaries  are  now  in  possession  of  Father  Iliodor. 
Translation,  beginning  at  line  5 — tlraft  of  a  letter  to  the  Czar: — 
"Letter  to  Czar  Nicholas  II. 
Christ  is  risen! 

1.  Russia  has  no  Czar! 

2.  Russia  has  no  laws! 

3.  In  Russia  the  laws  of  God  are  scorned! 

4.  In  Russia  the  laws  have  become  formulas  and  everyone  is  in  confusion;  everyone  acts 
according  to  his  own  judgment,  with  the  result  that  great  errors  are  committed! 

5.  The  Czar  refuses  to  read  the  letters  of  Olga  Vladimirovna  Lochtina. 

6.  How  does  he  mean  to  expiate  this  sin? 

7.  I   must  ask  him  this?     I! 

Olga  Vladimirovna  Lochtina,  devotee   for   Christ's  sake.     March  28,  1913.     Estate   of 
Muratovo. " 


Alexander  Nevski,  and  Seraphim  and  Nickon  were 
promoted  to  archbishoprics. 

I  beheve  that  in  the  whole  history  of  the  Russian 
Church  during  the  synodical  era  there  had  never 
been  a  case  in  which  all  the  members  of  the  Synod 
in  one  session  received  rewards  at  virtually  the  same 
time.  A  strange  occurrence!  But  one  glimpse  into 
the  diaries  of  Lochtina,  who  recorded  every  word  and 
step  of  her  "Lord  of  Hosts,"  will  suffice  to  explain 
this  complicated  problem.  The  diaries  contain  the 
following  letter  from  Rasputin: 

Darling  Papa  and  Mama : 

The  darling  bishops  dealt  the  devil  a  fine  blow.  They 
chastised  the  rebels  against  God's  anointed.  That 's  the 
right  way.  Now  we  must  be  nice  to  them.  Reward  them, 
only  not  all  at  once.  First  one,  then  another.  Otherwise 
the  dogs  Hermogenes  and  Iliodor  will  raise  a  howl.  Yes,  it 
is  necessary.  I,  Gregory,  am  writing  this.  Yes.  You 
must  be  nice  to  them  for  what  they  have  done. 


The  career  of  Barnaby,  Bishop  of  Tobolsk,  is  in 
the  highest  degree  picturesque.  He  was  a  peasant,  a 
market  gardener  from  Kargopol.  There  was  noth- 
ing remarkable  about  him. 

In  February,  1907,  ^t  the  home  of  Dr.  Dubrovin, 
Lieutenant  Ivanov  spoke  to  me  about  this  man  as 
follows : 

"Little  Father,  do  you  happen  to  know  a  certain 
Archimandrite  Barnaby,  Father  superior  of  a 
monastery  near  Moscow?    Well,  he  is  certainly  a 

206       THE  MAD  MONK  OF  RUSSIA 

rascal.  All  he  cares  about  is  to  make  trips  to  Petro- 
grad  and  spend  his  time  in  drawing-rooms.  I  know 
him.  I  also  have  visited  him  in  his  cells.  You  look 
around  and  everything  seems  cloister-like;  then  he 
opens  a  little  cupboard  under  the  ikons,  and  you  see 
there  all  kinds  of  things — cognac,  rum,  the  best 
vodka,  salmon,  and  all  kinds  of  dried  sturgeon  and 
sausage.  He  invited  me  and  a  friend  of  mine  once, 
and  the  three  of  us  helped  ourselves  to  everything." 

Months  passed.  I  forgot  about  Archimandrite 
Barnaby.  There  are  so  many  different  kinds  of 
monks.  Did  the  lieutenant  expect  me  to  be  as- 
tonished? I  have  met  worse  specimens.  But 
Barnaby  actually  proved  to  be  a  specimen  of  speci- 
mens. In  1909,  at  Tsaritzin,  Rasputin  said  to  me 
one  day,  among  other  things: 

"Do  you  know  Archimandrite  Barnaby,  Ili- 
odorushka?  Mama  keeps  on  talking  to  me  about 
him.  'Gregory,'  she  says,  'I  don't  know  what  to  do 
with  that  marmot  Barnabv.  He  comes  to  me,  falls 
at  my  feet,  gets  hold  of  them  with  both  hands,  kisses 
them,  and  keeps  on  repeating:  "Mother-Czarina, 
Mother- Czarina,  make  me  a  bishop!  I  want  to  be  a 
bishop."  What  can  I  do  with  him?  He  has  an- 
noyed me  several  times  like  that.'  " 

"Well,  and  what  has  been  the  result?"  I  asked. 

"Mama  said,  'Gregory,  I  '11  do  as  you  say,'  and  I 
said  to  her,  'Although  the  archbishops  will  feel 
insulted  if  a  peasant  is  thrust  among  them, — the 
academicians ! — it  does  n't  matter  a  snap.     They  '11 


get  used  to  it.     The  marmot  must  be  made  a  bishop. 
He  stands  up  for  me." 

If  I  remember  rightly  it  was  at  the  beginning  of 
1911  that  the  "marmot"  was  made  a  bishop.  There 
was  a  great  scandal.  The  members  of  the  Synod 
refused  to  confer  the  rank  upon  Barnaby  because 
he  had  had  no  education.  But  "Mama"  insisted 
through  Sabler,  the  procurator.  Barnaby  was  sent 
as  bishop  to  Kargopol.  Later  he  felt  bored  in  this 
small,  far-away  town.  He  was  appointed  to  the 
diocese  where  Rasputin  was  born,  to  the  cathedral 
of  Tobolsk.  A  peasant,  a  market  gardener  ap- 
pointed to  the  ancient  cathedral  that  metropolitans 
used  to  occupy!  The  case  is  satisfactorily  explained 
in  Lochtina's  diaries.  They  contain  the  following 
letter  from  the  saint  to  the  imperial  family: 

Darling  Papa  and  Mama: 

Many  cares,  but  no  success.  Troubled  as  to  whom  to 
send  to  Siberia.  But  he  's  right  here,  Bishop  Barnaby,  my 
friend  and  protector.  He  is  needed  here.  He  is  zealous  in 
his   endeavors. 


A  short  while  before,  when  the  cathedral  in  the 
Ekaterinburg  diocese  became  vacant,  Gregory  wrote 
the  czar  about  Barnaby  as  follows: 

My  darling. 

Wisdom!  Can't  you  send  our  mutual  friend  to  Ekater- 
inburg independently? — he  prays  ardently  and  is  ready- 
witted.  I  have  not  seen  him,  and  do  not  know  whether  he 
wants  it  or  not,  but  he  's  worthy.     Yes.     It  would  be  good 

208       THE  MAD  MONK  OF  RUSSIA 

for  him  there.  You,  my  darling,  please  don't  feel  insulted 
that  I  don't  mind  my  own  business.  Yes.  Forgive  me. 
Gregoey.     I  pray  and  kiss  you.^ 

Barnaby  did  not  land  at  Ekaterinburg  for  the 
simple  reason  that  Gregory  had  not  asked  his  con- 
sent, but  he  did  land  at  Tobolsk.  And  Barnaby,  the 
"marmot,"  having  got  into  his  hole,  began  to  ridicule 
without  mercy  the  educated  priests  of  the  Tobolsk 
diocese.  When  Rasputin  was  wounded  by  Chionia 
Gosiva,  he  exclaimed,  "Pray  for  God's  faithful  ser- 

In  1913,  owing  to  the  transfer  of  Vladimir  to 
Petrograd,  the  Moscow  metropolitan  cathedral  be- 
came vacant.  People  began  to  make  guesses  as  to 
who  would  be  appointed  in  his  place.  Public 
opinion  selected  the  conspicuous  candidates,  Sergius 
of  Finland  and  Anthony  of  Volhynia.  A  contest 
began  between  them,  the  partizans  of  both  trying 
their  best  to  adorn  their  respective  favorites,  printing 
eulogies  about  them,  inventing  new  virtues  for  them, 
and  ascribing  to  them  fine  qualities  they  never 

Suddenly,  against  all  expectations,  Nicholas  ap- 
pointed as  the  Makarius  metropolitan  of  Moscow,  a 
man  with  no  more  than  a  seminary  education,  an  ac- 
commodating old  fellow.  Everybody  was  astounded 
at  this  appointment — astounded,  because  they  did 
not  know  that  Makarius  had  for  a  long  while  been 
a  close  friend  of  Rasputin.    The  saint  helped  out  the 

iLochtina's  diaries. 


poor,  frail  old  man  from  the  gorges  of  Altai  and 
placed  him  in  the  cathedral  of  the  famous  Philaretus, 
and  in  the  place  of  INIakarius  he  transferred  to  Tomsk 
another  friend  of  his,  Meletiy,  Bishop  of  Barnaoul, 
who  had  once  made  Gregory  a  penitent  and  com- 
manded him  to  travel  and  to  "perform  saintly  ex- 

About  this  appointment  of  Makarius  Rasputin 
wrote  to  Nicholas  and  Alexandra  as  follows: 

Darling  Papa  and  Mama: 

Much  noise,  much  quarreling,  and  it  is  all  vanity.  Whom 
shaU  we  send  to  Moscow?  Not  Anthony;  he's  crafty  and 
young.  There  will  be  envy  and  animosity.  And  that 's  all 
the  devils  need.  Here  is  the  man  you  want  to  appoint,  the 
Altai  ascetic  Markarius,  my  friend.  God's  man.  Appoint 
him.     Yes. 


Is  it  necessary  for  me  to  mention  other  instances 
in  order  to  show  the  amazing  power  attained  by  this 
common,  pock-marked  Russian  peasant,  forty-eight 
years  of  age?  He  was,  without  doubt,  a  prophet,  a 
clairvoyant.  The  force  which  he  himself  described 
to  the  writer  Rodionov  as  "electricity"  emanated 
through  his  hands  and  principally  through  his  gray, 
unpleasant,  fixed,  piercing  eyes.  With  this  force  he 
subdued  every  weak  and  impressionable  soul.  He 
achieved  his  success  mainly  in  the  lowest  and  in  the 
highest  spheres.  Among  the  middle  classes  he  was 
not  popular.     The  reason  is  that  both  at  the  bottom 

1  Lochtina's  diaries. 

210       THE  MAD  MONK  OF  RUSSIA 

and  the  top  peojile  seek  God.  The  lowly  seek  God 
in  order  to  forget  themselves  in  dreams  of  a  future 
better  life.  People  of  the  higher  spheres  indulge  in 
mysticism  owing  to  their  satiety.  Having  relished 
all  earthly  things,  it  is  their  curiosity  that  prompts 
them  to  explore  the  realm  of  the  unknown.  In  the 
middle  classes,  on  the  other  hand,  people  are  too 
absorbed  in  the  cares  of  their  daily  existence  to  feel 
this  curiosity,  while  their  life  is  not  so  burdensome 
that  it  necessitates  appealing  to  Heaven  for  help. 

Rasputin  kept  his  claws  fastened  firmly  about  the 
imperial  family  by  repeating  again  and  again,  "If 
I  am  not  near  you,  the  heir  will  die."  To  sustain  his 
authority  outside  of  the  court  he  made  use  of  all  his 
skill  and  craftiness.  He  displayed  the  highest  degree 
of  impudence.  People  openly  exposed  him,  merci- 
less accusers  appeared  against  him;  but  he  went  on 
more  and  more  recklessly,  as  if  nothing  had  hap- 
pened, rising  higher  and  higher,  proclaiming  himself 
a  wonder-worker  intrusted  by  God  with  a  special 
mission  on  earth.  So  vain  was  he  that  he  was  con- 
tinually posing  before  painters  and  moving-picture 
operators;  he  provided  himself  with  minions  and 
obedient  newspaper  men,  who  gave  him  exaggerated 
write-ups,  describing  his  audiences  which,  they  said, 
had  more  petitioners  than  those  of  the  ministers.  He 
distributed  money,  but  not  so  lavishly  as  his  "sworn 
reporters"  said.  He  was  much  fonder  of  depositing 
his  money  in  the  bank. 

And  the  saint  went  on,  imitating  the  etiquette  of 


the  court.  He  went  skipping  about,  heels  forward, 
clad  in  his  silk  shirt,  costly  trousers,  and  bottle-like 
boots,  seeking  new  friends,  curing  the  "sick,"  ex- 
pelling lewd  devils,  dismissing  and  appointing 
ministers  and  bishops,  ruling  the  great  empire  and 
the  Russian  Church. 

And  he  kept  on  repeating  with  a  preoccupied  air: 
"Oh,  how  busy  I  ami    Oh,  how  busy!" 




And  now  for  the  third  act  of  my  drama.  It  is  the 
story  of  my  long  struggle  with  Rasputin  and  the 
powers  of  darkness  that  hedged  him  round  in  the 
church  and  the  state.  Why  did  I  turn  against  him? 
My  enemies  of  course  pretended  that  it  was  because 
I  desired  to  take  his  place,  but  this  was  not  true. 
How  far  from  true  it  was  I  leave  my  American 
readers  to  decide. 

Quackery  never  holds  out  for  long.  Had  Ras- 
putin been  a  quack  to  begin  with,  we  should  never 
have  heard  of  him.  There  are  thousands  of  quack 
saints  in  Russia  who  wind  up  as  beggars  and  out- 
casts. Rasputin  was  not  of  this  kind;  I  wish  to 
make  that  clear.  In  the  beginning  he  was  an  honest, 
earnest  man,  a  seeker  after  God.  But  have  you  ever 
seen  a  man  apparently  in  the  best  of  health  who  was 
being  inwardly  devoured  by  a  cancer?  Such  a  man 
was  Rasputin.  The  cancer  of  lust  and  degeneracy 
ravaged  him  within,  although  it  took  years  and  the 
cumulative  evidence  of  years  before  that  cancer  ate 
its  way  to  the  surface,  and  the  evil  nature  of  the  man 
had  entirely  displaced  the  good.  Then  there  was  no 
saving  Rasputin.     The  only  thing  to  do  was  to  save 


216       THE  MAD  MONK  OF  RUSSIA 

others  from  coming  into  contact  with  him.  That  is 
what  I  attempted,  and  for  that  I  suffered  exile  from 
Russia.  Let  me  reveal  now  all  the  steps  leading  to 
this  tragic  climax. 

According  to  the  testimony  of  Mitia  the  Blissful, 
Bishop  Theophanes,  virtually  the  oldest  of  Rasputin's 
friends,  had  long  been  aware  of  the  exploits  of  the 
saint.  Several  times  he  had  compelled  him  to  take 
an  oath  at  the  ikon  never  to  touch  women  and  to 
behave  decently. 

Rasputin  had  taken  these  oaths,  but  he  would  not 
or  could  not  forsake  his  "healing  art."  Theophanes 
forebore  going  any  further,  perhaps  fearing  him,  per- 
haps expecting  that  some  day  he  would  make 
amends;  but  as  time  went  on,  a  storm  of  indignation 
against  Rasputin  began  to  rise  in  his  soul. 

In  January,  1910,  without  coming  out  openly,  he 
launched  a  campaign  against  him.  As  his  assistant 
he  selected  the  sub-professor  of  the  seminary,  the 
priest  Benjamin,  already  known  to  the  reader.  The 
papers,  though  very  warily,  began  to  attack  Ras- 

Shortly  after  he  had  visited  me  at  Tsaritzin  and 
had  returned  to  Petrograd,  Rasputin  sent  me  the 
following  letter: 

Darling:  You  did  not  notice  anything  bad  about  me 
when  I  was  at  Tsaritzin,  did  you?  Theophanes  and  Benja- 
min keep  on  slinging  mud  at  me.  All  I  did  at  Tsaritzin 
was  to  be  nice  to  the  people;  that  was  all.     Defend  me. 



It  was  true  that  I  had  not  seen  anything  incrim- 
inating about  him  at  Tsaritzin  except  his  kisses,  which 
had  a  rehgious  precedent  and  I  had  not  beheved 
Father  Peter  Ostroumov's  stories  about  Gregory. 
Consequently  I  began  to  defend  my  friend  and  bene- 
factor without  having  any  selfish  interests  in  view.  I 
defended  him  desperately.  His  kisses  and  bath- 
house escapades  I  ascribed  to  his  impassibility,  for  I 
sincerely  believed  the  saint  when  he  told  me  that  to 
him  a  woman  was  no  more  than  a  manikin.  On  two 
consecutive  Sunday  evenings  I  delivered  two-hour 
speeches  before  five  thousand  people  in  defense  of 
him.  Without  knowing  it,  I  was  committing  a  great 
sin  in  the  temple  of  the  living  God,  at  the  altar  of  the 
heavenly  king.  The  people  believed  me,  because 
they  always  loved  and  respected  me.  The  gentleman 
of  the  bedchamber,  A.  E.  Pistolkors,  wired  me  from 
Petrograd,  asking  me  to  write  the  sermons  out  and 
send  them  to  him  for  "Papa"  and  "Mama."  I, 
who  as  a  rule  never  recorded  my  sermons,  wrote  out 
my  defense  of  Rasputin  and  sent  it  to  Pistolkors. 
He  replied  to  the  effect  that  the  czar  and  the  czarina 
had  read  the  sermons  and  liked  them  very  much ;  but 
they  were  not  liked  by  L.  Tichomiroff  and  the  writer 
M.  A.  Novoseloff,  whom  I  had  attacked  for  "insult- 
ing brother  Gregory,"  and  they  especially  displeased 

Stolypin,  who  had  then  severed  all  relations  with 
Rasputin,  twice  appeared  before  the  Holy  Synod 
with  his  opinion  concerning  my  sermons  in  the  saint's 

218      THE  MAD  MONK  OF  RUSSIA 

defense,  and  the  Synod  sent  my  superior,  Bishop 
Hermogenes,  two  decrees  about  them.  All  the  de- 
crees contained  was  a  corroboration  of  the  fact  that 
at  such  and  such  a  time  I  had  defended  Gregory  Ras- 
putin at  the  monastery  church,  but  there  was  no  indi- 
cation whether  I  was  adjudged  guilty  for  this  either 
by  Stolypin  or  by  the  Synod. 

After  the  davs  of  the  defense  were  over,  at  the 
end  of  January,  1910,  I  received  from  Benjamin  two 
letters.     This  is  what  he  wrote  to  me : 

Dear  Father  Iliodor: 

I  am  writing  to  you  at  Master  Theophanes's  request. 
Both  of  us  implore  you  not  to  defend  Gregory,  that  veritable 
devil  and  rake.  We  swear  by  the  Almighty  that  liis  obscene 
deeds  were  revealed  at  his  confession  to  Master  Theophanes. 
The  ladies  maltreated  by  him,  and  the  girls  Vishniakova 
and  Timofeeva  dishonored  by  him,  testify  against  him.  He, 
the  son  of  Satan,  took  us  to  the  bath-house  and  purposely 
assured  us  that  he  was  impassionate.  It  was  not  till  after- 
wards that  we  understood  he  was  lying  and  deceiving  us. 
Believe  us,  and  do  not  defend  him  any  more.  Affectionately 


Almost  simultaneously  with  these  letters  a 
Tsaritzin  lady  by  the  name  of  Potugina,  who  had  a 
young,  pretty  married  daughter  living  with  her,  came 
to  me  and  said: 

"Dear  Father,  we  have  learned  something  bad 
about  Father  Gregory.  We  sent  an  inquiry  about 
him  to  Bishop  Theophanes  at  Petrograd.  Here  is 
his  reply."     I  took  the  letter  and  read: 


Sister  Barbara,  God  sav'e  you  from  having  anything 
to  do  with  Gregory  Rasputin.  He  is  a  true  disciple  of  the 

Bishop  Theophanes. 

Having  read  Benjamin's  letters  and  Theophanes's 
letter  to  Potugina,  I  wrote  to  Rasputin,  asking  for  an 
explanation.     He  replied: 

My  darling  Iliodorushka : 

Don't  believe  the  slanderers.  They  are  libeling  me.  And 
do  you  know  why?  Out  of  envy.  I  am  nearer  to  the 
imperial  family  than  they  are ;  the  czar  and  czarina  love  me 
very  much  and  care  nothing  for  them.  That 's  why  they 
have  risen  against  me,  that 's  why  they  are  planning  to  over- 
throw me.  Don't  you  believe  them.  This  sin  will  be  their 
undoing.     The  loophole  will  be  closed  for  Theophanes. 


This  time  I  did  not  believe  Gregory.  Doubt  had 
taken  possession  of  my  heart.  I  awaited  new  ex- 
planations, and  presently  I  received  from  Petrograd 
or  Poksrovskoye,  I  cannot  remember  which,  the  fol- 
lowing telegram:  "Papa  has  promised  a  golden 
cowl  for  you.  Gregory."  What  thoughts  came  to 
me  on  reading  the  telegram  I  do  not  remember,  but 
the  memorable  visit  paid  to  me  shortly  afterward  by 
the  Nun  Xenia  Goncharova  put  an  end  to  my  in- 
decision and  erected  forever  a  barrier  between 
Gregory  and  me. 

From  that  day  on  I  prayed  continually  to  God  to 
rid  me  of  the  saint  who  knew  how  to  keep  his  friends 
ensnared.     At  the  same  time  I  began  to  take  practi- 

220       THE  MAD  MONK  OF  RUSSIA 

cal  steps  for  my  safety,  realizing  that  to  turn  against 
Rasputin  meant  to  turn  against  the  czar,  and  that  it 
would  involve  a  bitter  fight  which  might  end  in  the 
loss  of  my  monastery.  I  said  to  myself,  "If  I  cannot 
fight  him  above  ground,  I  will  try  to  fight  him  under 
the  ground."  Accordingly,  I  began  to  have  pas- 
sages dug  at  a  depth  of  ten  yards  under  the 
monastery.  Four  thousand  of  my  followers  vol- 
unteered for  this  service;  they  worked  for  four 
months,  night  and  day,  in  ten-hour  shifts,  on  these 
subterranean  passages  and  chambers.  When  the 
authorities  learned  of  this  work  they  asked  me  for 
an  explanation.  "I  am  digging  graves,"  I  said. 
The  Russian  press  immediately  sounded  the  alarm, 
and  editorials  were  written  entitled,  "What  is  Iliodo*r 
Doing?"  and  "Iliodor  is  Getting  Ready  for  Some- 

Meanwhile,  anticipating  great  trouble  for  himself 
and  for  his  imperial  friends,  owing  to  Theophanes 
having  come  out  against  him  and  to  the  great  commo- 
tion this  had  raised,  Gregory  undertook  an  energetic 
vindication  of  himself.  Having  come  to  Petrograd 
he  wrote  to  Viroubova: 

Greetings,  dear  heavenly  virgin!  And  what  have  I  to 
brag  of?  Illnesses.  May  God  reward  you  for  the  blissful- 
ness  of  your  purity!  Written  by  Gregory,  your  pilgrim, 
desecrated  by  everybody.  Would  like  to  see  you.  Have  put 
up  at  the  Sazonovs. 

To  Theophanes  he  wrote  ingratiatingly: 

Bless  me,  O  Master,  unworthy  as  I  am,  and  forgive  me.     I 







a.  "^ 

■a  £ 

p  w 

^  2 

^'^  o 

r-;j-  -T- 

m  p    O 










bow  before  your  rank.  If  I  have  aggrieved  you,  pray  and 
forgive ;  let  us  remember  the  good  words,  and  forget  the  evil, 
and  pray.  Great  as  the  devil's  wiles  may  be,  God's  mercy  is 
greater.  Forgive  and  bless  me,  as  a  former  adherent. 
Written  by  Gregory. 

And  let  me  quote  here  from  Lochtina's  diaries,  two 
of  the  many  other  letters  he  wrote  to  important  per- 
sonages : 

To  Anthony,  Archbishop  of  Volhynia: 

Bless  me.  Master;  take  no  offense.  I  shall  do  you  no 
harm,  and  if  in  your  opinion  I  have  fallen,  pray  for  me. 
You  are  our  shepherds ;  you  watch  over  us  by  your  admoni- 
tions. Pray  for  sinful  Gregory,  and  let  the  Jews  call  me 
names.     Written  by  Gregory  the  wortliless. 

To  Anthony,  Metropolitan  of  Petrograd: 

Bless  me,  darling  Master,  and  forgive  me.  I  should  like 
to  see  you,  and  I  would  gladly  receive  your  admonition. 
There  is  much  gossip.  I  am  guilty.  I  have  given  cause, 
but  I  'm  not  a  sectarian,  but  a  son  of  the  Orthodox  Church. 
Everything  hinges  on  my  visiting  the  august  personages. 
There  lies  the  cause  of  my  sufferings.  I  cannot  answer  the 
abuse  of  the  papers. 

Rasputin  worked  so  effectively  at  court  that  he 
soon  brought  about  Theophanes's  downfall.  The 
bishop  was  exiled  from  the  apartments  of  the 
empress  and  deprived  of  his  high  rank  as  imperial 
confessor.  Afterward  he  was  banished  from  Petro- 

At  the  beginning  of  December,  1911,  I  went  to 
Petrograd  from  Tsaritzin  to  buy  a  printing-press 
and  to  obtain  permission  to  publish  at  the  monastery 

224      THE  MAD  MONK  OF  RUSSIA 

the  magazine  "Life  and  Salvation"  and  the  news- 
paper "Thunder  and  Lightning."  In  Petrograd  I 
stayed  at  the  hostelry  of  the  Jaroslavl  Monastery. 
Bishop  Hermogenes  was  at  that  time  a  member  of 
the  Holy  Synod,  and  at  his  house  I  used  to  meet  every 
day  Mitia  the  Blissful  and  the  writer  I.  A.  Rodionov, 
both  of  whom  were  teUing  incredible  things  about 
Gregory  and  his  activities  at  court,  Rodionov  quoting 
Czheglovitoff,  and  Mitia,  Prince  Putiatin  and  Prince 
Orlov,  with  whom  Gregory  had  formerly  been  on 
veiy  friendly  terms. 

On  December  12  or  13,  when  Hermogenes  was 
away  at  a  meeting  of  the  Synod,  a  courier  brought 
me  a  telegram,  saying  as  he  handed  it  to  me,  "The 
telegram  is  addressed  to  the  bishop,  but  its  text  is 
not  for  him,  so  the  telegraph  official  told  me."  In 
order  to  make  sure  that  I  was  not  intercepting  some- 
body else's  telegram,  I  opened  it  and  read:  "jNIy 
darling  Master,  I  was  there;  they  are  sending  you 
their  best  regards.  They  ask  you  not  to  talk  to  The- 
ophanes  and  Fedchenko  (Benjamin) .  Shall  be  back 
in  a  couple  of  days.     Gregory." 

I  reassured  the  courier  and  he  left.  Gregory  had 
sent  the  telegi-am  from  Moscow  on  his  way  from 
Livadia,  where  he  had  been  present  at  the  celebration 
of  Nicholas's  name-day,  December  6.  In  the  tele- 
gram he  was  conveying  the  imperial  family's  re- 
gards to  Hermogenes.  When  Hermogenes  came 
home  from  the  Synod,  I  handed  him  the  telegram. 
He  read,  spat  on  it,  and  said  to  me: 


*'There  's  a  dog.  May  the  Lord  forgive  me!  We 
must  get  rid  of  him." 

"I  have  been  insisting  on  this  for  a  long  time. 

"What  shall  we  do,  then?" 

"The  affair  is  a  very  serious  and  complicated  one. 
It  was  easy  to  commit  oneself  with  the  devil,  but  we 
shall  need  God's  help  in  getting  rid  of  him." 

"We  must  risk  everything." 

"Not  our  monastic  rank." 

"That  will  not  depend  on  us.  If  we  are  planning 
a  break  with  the  saint,  we  must  be  prepared  for  any- 

Hermogenes  was  lost  in  thought.  Somber 
shadows  beset  his  dark  earnest  face. 

"Well,  what's  to  be  done?"  he  continued  after  a 
while.  "You  know,  I  don't  like  the  idea  of  suffering 
on  account  of  this  reptile." 

"Master,  this  is  what  we  shall  do.  We  shall  invite 
Gregory  here,  expose  him,  and  lock  him  in  the  corner 
room ;  we  shall  let  nobody  see  him ;  we  shall  not  allow 
him  to  call  up  anybody.  Meanwhile  you  go  to  the 
czar  and  persuade  him  to  get  rid  of  the  saint. 
Prostrate  yourself  before  him  and  insist  that  for  the 
sake  of  saving  the  throne  and  Russia  it  is  necessary 
to  keep  Rasputin  in  his  Siberian  hole.  Of  course  if 
we  release  Gregory  after  the  exposure  we  are  lost. 
I  don't  know  what  you  mean  to  do  when  he  attacks 
us,  assisted  by  his  friends,  but  I  shall  stop  at  noth- 

226       THE  MAD  MONK  OF  RUSSIA 

"That  is  a  good  idea;  but  we  must  consult  the 
minister  of  justice  about  it." 

"Very  well;  let  us  go  to  see  him  to-morrow." 

We  made  an  appointment  with  Czheglovitoff,  and, 
accompanied  by  his  friend,  the  writer  Rodionov,  we 
went  to  see  him  on  December  14.  We  spent  four 
hours  talking  about  Gregory.  I  told  the  minister 
everything  about  the  saint.  He  listened  very  closely. 
Hermogenes,  touching  my  knee  with  one  hand  and 
looking  at  Czheglovitoff,  kept  repeating:  "Father 
Iliodor  is  a  child,  a  real  child.  He  is  telling  every- 
thing." The  minister  smiled,  while  I  kept  on  sug- 
gesting to  him  what  ought  to  be  done  to  Gregory, 
adding : 

"And  then,  after  the  exposure  and  confinement  of 
Gregory,  trustworthy  people  must  be  sent  to 
Poksrovskoye  to  burn  his  house,  with  all  that  is  in  it. 
They  must  destroy  all  the  imperial  gifts  to  him,  their 
portraits  and  letters,  so  that  there  is  nothing  left  to 
show  that  Gregory  has  been  admitted  to  the  czar's 
family  and  won  their  favor." 

"But  this  cannot  be  done  nowadays,  reverend 
Father,"  said  Czheglovitoff.  "How  can  we  lock  a 
man  up  in  a  room?" 

"A  villain  like  that  may  be  safely  locked  up,  Ivan 
Gregorievich.  I  shall  attend  to  it  and  I  shall  take 
all  the  responsibility  on  mj'^self." 

The  minister  kept  a  profound  silence. 

On  December  15,  Anthony  of  Volhynia  sent 
Archimandrite  Vitahus  to  me  at  the  hostelry  of  the 


Jaroslavl  Monastery  to  tell  me  that  the  bishops  were 
not  amicably  disposed  toward  me  for  my  friendship 
with  Gregory.  I  replied,  "Our  friendly  relations 
ceased  a  long  time  ago,  and  one  of  these  days  I  shall 
corner  him  and  make  him  jump  like  a  fish  in  a  fry- 
ing-pan." Vitalius  left.  I  found  out  afterward 
that  Anthony  was  striving  to  deprive  me  of 
Gregory's  friendship  in  order  to  "humble"  me  before 
the  Synod,  which  I  had  heretofore  disobeyed  because 
the  Synod  was  servile  to  Stolypin,  the  patriarch- 

The  fatal  day  of  the  break  with  Rasputin  was  ap- 
proaching. The  "great  miracle-worker"  was  on  the 
point  of  returning  from  Moscow.  I  was  very  ex- 
cited, the  desire  to  get  rid  of  Rasputin  constantly 
growing  in  my  soul.  I  wished  to  atone  for  the  sin 
of  having  defended  him,  to  reveal  his  crafty,  sly, 
bigoted  soul,  to  get  even  with  him  for  having  deceived 
me  about  his  scandalous  conduct.  And  I  cherished 
a  secret  wish  to  embroil  myself,  on  Gregory's  account, 
with  the  czar  and  czarina  themselves.  As  early  as 
February  22,  1911,  I  had  said  to  the  priest  Vostrikov 
on  the  platform  of  the  railroad  station  at  Serdobolsk, 

"I  should  like  to  give  the  imperial  family  a  piece 
of  my  mind." 

"What  do  you  mean?"  he  inquired.  "That  will  be 
your  undoing!" 

"I  am  willing,"  said  I.  "I  should  like  to  chide 
them  for  having  to  do  with  a  rascal  like  Gregory 
Rasputin.     I  am  eager  to  see  whether  they  will  re- 

228      THE  MAD  MONK  OF  RUSSIA 

nounce  the  scoundrel  or  not.  Why  should  we  pine 
away  for  them,  die  for  them,  if  they — God  knows 
how  they  carry  on  with  this  rake." 

Vostrikov  remonstrated.  I  held  my  tongue,  but 
went  on  thinking.  And  now,  awaiting  Rasputin's 
arrival,  all  my  being  became  absorbed  in  this  thought. 
I  could  think  of  nothing  but  the  preparations  for  his 

I  took  great  pains  to  have  witnesses  ready  for  the 
fatal  hour,  intending  to  expose  Gregory  in  such  a 
way  that  he  would  not  be  able  afterward  to  refute 
his  confessions  or  to  present  the  matter  in  an  entirely 
different  light.  The  witnesses  I  found  were 
Rodionov,  Mitia  the  Bhssful,  the  merchant  Chern- 
ishov,  the  priests  Ledovsky  and  Soshestvensky,  and 
the  academician  Stefan  Tverdinsky. 

On  the  evening  of  December  15  I  told  W.  M. 
Chvostzoff  over  the  telephone  that  we  were  getting 
ready  to  bid  farewell  to  Brother  Gregory. 

"What  do  you  mean?"  he  said. 

''Well,  we  intend  to  unmask  him  and  send  him  back 
to  Siberia  to  till  the  soil." 

"Look  out,  act  with  caution ;  he  's  a  strong  and 
dangerous  man.  Look  out.  You  may  break  your 

"We  '11  try  to  break  his  horns  instead.  We  have 
an  excellent  plan.  If  we  act  according  to  it,  the 
thing  is  as  good  as  done,  but  if  we  don't,  may  God 
help  us!" 


"Well,  God  be  with  you!  But  be  careful. 

On  December  16,  in  the  morning,  Gregory  called 
me  up  on  the  telephone  from  the  apartment  of  Mme. 
Golovina,  6  Zimnia  Kanavka,  and  invited  me  to  come 
to  see  him.  I  went,  having  previously  asked 
Hermogenes  to  assemble  all  the  witnesses  before 
eleven  o'clock. 

Rasputin  received  me  very  cordially.  I  asked  him 
to  go  with  me  to  Hermogenes. 

"Well,  how  is  the  master?  All  right?  Not  angry 
with  me?    Did  he  receive  my  telegram?" 

"He's  all  right.  He  received' the  telegram.  He 
is  waiting  for  you.  He  said  to  me:  'Go  and  fetch 
Gregory  Ephimovich,  and  be  quick  about  it.  I  want 
to  see  him.'  " 

"You  see,  Brother,  what  the  czar's  regards  did  with 
him.  And  last  summer  when  I  left  you — oh,  how  he 
was  attacking  me  at  Saratoff !" 

In  June,  1911,  it  seems,  Hermogenes  had  given 
the  saint  a  severe  scolding  for  his  exploits. 

"No,  it 's  all  right  now,"  I  reassured  him. 

"Well,  come  on ;  come  on,  darling.  That 's  what 
I  call  fine." 

We  took  a  cab  and  went.  On  the  way  Gregory 
kept  on  chatting. 

"The  czar  and  czarina  send  regards  to  you,  too; 
you  '11  soon  be  a  bishop.  I  saw  their  new  palace. 
It  cost  five  millions.     Yes,  there  are  rooms  there  all 

230      THE  MAD  MONK  OF  RUSSIA 

of  glass.  And  the  window-panes,  the  window-panes, 
oh,  how  large,  how  wide  they  are !  Mama  is  not  quite 
well,  and  Papa  himself  showed  me  around  the 

When  we  arrived  we  went  straight  to  Hermo- 
genes's  study.  Three  of  the  witnesses,  Rodionov, 
Mitia,  and  Chemishov,  were  missing.  I  rushed  to 
the  telephone  and  urged  them  to  hurry.  Twenty 
minutes  later  they  were  all  assembled.  The  saint 
began  to  suspect  that  something  was  wrong.  He 
shot  rapid  glances  about  him  with  his  gray  eyes  and 
appeared  to  be  perplexed.  Passing  through  the 
antechamber  with  Rodionov,  I  remarked, 

"Ivan  Alexandrovich,  just  look  at  the  saintly 
rags !" 

Rodionov  felt  Rasputin's  fur  coat  and  hat  and  said : 

"Oho!  the  hat  is  worth  at  least  three  hundred 
rubles,  and  the  fur  coat  about  two  thousand.  A  real 
ascetic's  raiment." 

The  historic  hour  struck.  We  were  all  assembled 
in  the  red  room  reserved  for  special  occasions.  The 
saint  sat  down  on  a  big  divan  at  the  round  table,  then 
got  up,  walked  a  little,  and  stopped  at  the  door.  The 
witnesses  were  sitting.  Hermogenes  was  standing. 
So  was  I.  Mitia,  limping  and  waving  his  dried-up 
hand,  walked  to  and  fro,  casting  baleful  glances  at 
Gregory.  Everybody  kept  still.  At  last  Gregory 
understood  that  something  extremely  unpleasant  for 
him  was  about  to  take  place. 

"WeU,  Mitia,  begin,"  said  I. 


Hermogenes  exclaimed: 

"Why  do  you  ask  the  smallest  one?  You  know 
more  thafi  anybody  else;  you  begin!"  I  was  about 
to  open  my  mouth  when  something  incredible,  com- 
ical, and  at  the  same  time  dreadful  happened.  Mitia 
screamed  out: 

"Ah!  ah!  ah!  You  are  an  ungodly  man!  You 
have  maltreated  many  women ;  many  nurses ;  you  live 
with  the  czarina.  You  're  a  rascal."  Then  he  began 
to  pinch  the  saint.  He  pinched  him  once  or  twice, 
let  go,  and  began  shouting  again.  Rasputin  was 
dreadfully  frightened;  his  lips  became  clotted,  and 
backing  toward  the  door,  he  bent  low,  fearing  lest 
Mitia  would  tear  out  a  piece  of  his  flesh.  Mitia  took 
him  by  the  sleeve,  dragged  him  over  to  an  ikon,  and 
pointing  with  his  finger  to  Gregory's  breast,  he  began 
to  shout  still  more  furiously : 

"You  're  an  ungodly  man.  You  are  anti- 

At  last  Gregory  began  to  speak ;  in  his  turn  point- 
ing his  finger  at  Mitia,  he  muttered  in  a  trembling 
voice : 

"No,  you  are  an  ungodly  man.  You  are  an  un- 
godly man." 

I  don't  know  for  how  long  the  saints  would  have 
been  quarreling  and  spitting  at  each  other  had  not 
Hermogenes  intervened.  He  put  on  his  stole,  took 
the  cross  in  his  hand,  and  said,  "Gregory,  come 
hither."  Gregory  approached  the  table  all  a-quiver, 
pale,  stooping,  frightened. 

232       THE  MAD  MONK  OF  RUSSIA 

*'Well,  Father  Iliodor,  begin,"  Hermogenes  com- 

My  mind  was  in  confusion;  my  heart  was  beating 
fast ;  my  entire  being  was  in  a  state  of  excitement.  I 
began : 

"Brother  Gregory,  for  a  whole  year  you  have  been 
trying  to  force  your  friendship  on  me.  Being  well 
aware  that  my  work  in  Tsaritzin  is  everything  to  me, 
you  kept  me  near  you  by  all  kinds  of  threats  and 
ruses.  Now  the  fatal  hour  has  struck  for  me  to  get 
rid  of  you  in  order  that  I  may  not  soil  myself  with 
your  friendship.  I  feel  that  it  will  not  fare  well  with 
me,  but  it  will  not  be  worse  than  being  friendly  with 
you.  The  depths  of  my  being  revolt  against  your 
vile  activity.  You  have  always  deceived  me.  You 
led  me  into  a  grave  transgression;  before  many 
thousands  of  Orthodox  believers  I  lied,  summoning 
God  the  Righteous  to  be  my  witness  that  you  were 
a  holy,  impassionate  man,  for  I  believed  you.  To- 
day, having  mustered  all  the  courage  at  my  command, 
— for,  I  must  admit,  it  is  not  an  easy  task  to  struggle 
with  you, — in  the  presence  of  these  witnesses  I  come 
out,  no  longer  as  your  friend,  but  as  your  accuser, 
your  prosecutor.  I  shall  begin  to  enumerate  your 
deeds.  Number  one."  And  I  began  telling  about 
the  saint's  exploits. 

Hermogenes  and  all  the  other  witnesses  sur- 
rounded Rasputin.  He  stood  at  the  round  table, 
with  knees  bent,  pale  and  trembling.  Biting  the 
finger-nails  now  of  one  hand,  now  of  the  other,  he 


glanced  about  madly  with  his  unpleasant,  gray  eyes, 
staring  now  at  one  witness,  now  at  another,  as  if  look- 
ing for  support  and  protection.  The  only  ones  he 
dared  not  look  at  were  Hermogenes  and  Mitia.  The 
last  words  of  my  speech  were  as  follows : 

"Gregory,  I  defended  you.  I  shall  also  destroy 
you,  and  all  j'^our  followers  with  you." 

When  I  finished  my  speech  Hermogenes,  who  had 
been  standing  quietly  in  his  stole,  cross  in  hand,  cried 

"Confess  now,  you  devil's  disciple,  in  the  presence 
of  witnesses,  has  Father  Iliodor  spoken  the  truth 
about  you?" 

Rasputin  opened  his  mouth,  displayed  his  teeth, 
moved  his  lips,  sat  down  on  the  divan,  immediately 
jumped  up  again,  and  finally  muttered  in  a  voice  that 
sounded  from  beyond  the  gi'ave : 

"Yes,  the  truth,  the  truth;  everything  is  true." 

Hermogenes  continued: 

"What  enables  j^ou  to  do  it  ?" 

"God's  power,"  the  saint  replied  in  a  more  decisive 

"O,  you  ungodly  man!  why  did  you  torture  so  that 
poor,  innocent  girl,  the  nun  Xenia?" 

"I  did  not  torture  her;  I  relieved  her." 

A  subdued  laughter  was  heard  among  the  wit- 
nesses, and  Hermogenes,  having  caught  the  saint's 
skull  with  his  left  hand,  began  to  knock  him  on  the 
head  with  the  cross,  shouting  in  a  terrible  voice: 

"Devil,   in   God's   name   I   forbid   you   to   touch 

234       THE  MAD  MONK  OF  RUSSIA 

women.  I  forbid  you  to  enter  the  imperial  palace 
or  to  have  anything  to  do  with  the  czarina.  You  are 
a  murderer.  Just  as  a  mother  nurses  her  child  in 
the  cradle,  so  had  the  holy  church  with  its  prayers, 
blessings,  and  exploits  nursed  the  great  national 
shrine,  the  autocracy  of  the  czars.  And  now  you, 
reptile,  destroy  our  sacred  vessels,  the  bearers  of 
autocratic  power.  How  long  will  you,  accursed 
man,  continue  this?  Tell  us!  Fear  God,  fear  this 
vivifying  cross!" 

Gregory  kept  still.  His  forehead  turned  un- 
pleasantly purple,  hke  a  dead  man's.  His  blood- 
shot eyes  were  glancing  savagely  about  from  under 
Hermogenes's  large  hand;  he  tried  to  release  himself 
from  Hermogenes's  grasp,  but  could  not,  agitated  as 
he  was.  Hermogenes  put  his  right  hand  on  the 
saint's  shoulder  and  dragged  him  toward  the  chapel, 
crying : 

"Come!  Come  to  the  chapel!  There,  before  the 
holy  relics,  you  shall  swear  not  to  go  where  you 
should  not." 

Gregory,  like  a  thief  caught  red-handed,  stumbled 
after  Hermogenes,  casting  sidelong  glances  with  his 
wild,  wandering  eyes. 

We  entered  the  chapel  and  paused  before  the  ikon 
with  the  relics.  Of  the  witnesses  Rodionov  alone 
stopped  near  the  ikon.  The  rest,  awed  by  the  strange 
sight,  did  not  advance  farther  than  the  door.  Even 
the    brave    Mitia    did   not   venture    in,    but    stand- 


ing  at  the  head  of  the  witnesses  at  the  door,  stamped 
his  lame  foot  on  the  floor,  and  desperately  gestic- 
ulated with  his  sound  hand.  Then  Hermogenes 
commanded : 

"Say,  I  swear  here,  before  the  holy  relics,  not  to 
cross  the  threshold  of  the  imperial  palace  without  the 
sanction  of  Bishop  Hermogenes  and  Father  Iliodor. 
Swear  it!     Kiss  the  ikon!     Kiss  the  holy  relics!" 

Gregory,  standing  upright,  shaking,  pale,  almost 
dead,  did  as  Hermogenes  ordered  him. 

I  do  not  remember  what  happened  afterward. 
When,  weakened  by  my  agitation,  I  entered  my  room, 
I  found  Rodionov  there. 

"Perhaps  it  is  true,"  I  said,  "that  Mitia  attacks 
Gregory  thus  on  account  of  the  saintly  portfolio." 

On  hearing  these  words  Rodionov  threw  himself 
on  the  wide  couch  and  began  to  roll  with  laughter, 
his  hands  on  his  stomach.  "Well,  what  are  you 
laughing  at,  Ivan  Alexandrovich  ?  There  's  nothing 
funny  about  this.  You  know  Gregory  has  already 
escaped,  and  Hermogenes  and  I  are  lost." 

"Oh!  oh!  oh!  ha!  ha!  ha!  how  can  one  help  laughing, 
dear  Father?  Portfolios?  Lord!  Even  a  dead  one 
would  laugh  seeing  Mitia  and  Gregory.  Portfo- 
lios!" Rodionov  again  threw  himself  on  the  couch 
and  roared  with  laughter.  I,  too,  laughed.  How 
could  one  help  it,  picturing  to  one's  self  the  two  saints 
running  to  the  apartments  of  Nicholas  and  Alexan- 
dra, trying  to  overtake  one  another  and  to  get  into 

236       THE  MAD  MONK  OF  RUSSIA 

each  other's  way.  Politics!  A  career!  Fame! 
Grandeur!  Rodionov  bade  me  good-by  and  left. 
The  apartments  were  empty.  Dead  silence  reigned 
after  the  recent  infernal  noise. 

I  went  to  Hermogenes's  study.  The  bishop  stood 
at  the  table,  and  I,  examining  the  little  ikons  and 
crosses,  panagias  and  other  sacred  objects,  reverently 
kissed  them  as  if  nothing  had  happened. 

"Well,  Master,  how  do  you  feel?"  I  said. 

"All  right,  thank  God!     We  got  rid  of  the  devil." 

"But  it  is  only  the  beginning  of  the  end,  dear 
Master.     Let  them  rave ;  we'll  go  on  with  our  fight." 

"To  the  very  end." 

"To  the  end.     No  compromises." 

I  fervently  kissed  Hermogenes's  hand,  comforted 
by  his  fearlessness  and  fortitude. 

In  the  evening  of  the  same  day  Mme.  Lochtina  said 
to  me  over  the  telephone : 

"Father  Iliodor,  for  God's  sake  come  at  once  to 
the  Golovins!  Piotr  Stefanovich  Damansky  is  here. 
Sabler  will  soon  come.  We  '11  talk  things  over.  We 
shall  make  up." 

"I  shall  not  come,"  I  said.  "It 's  all  over.  No 
advice  is  necessary.     Farewell." 

I  hung  up  the  receiver.  Lochtina  called  me  up 
several  times  after  that,  but  I  did  not  answer.  I 
found  out  afterward  that  Damansky  and  Sabler  were 
anxious  to  learn  how  the  "occurrence"  had  come 
about  and  whether  it  was  possible  to  straighten  it 


On  December  17,  in  the  morning,  when  I  was  still 
in  bed,  in  came  Gregory. 

"Gregory,  what  have  you  come  for?  It  is  all 
over,"  I  said,  displeased  and  embarrassed. 

"Darling  friend,  understand  me,  pity  me.  I  helped 
you  once  upon  a  time.  Do  me  a  favor:  help  me  to 
get  reconciled  with  Hermogenes." 

"That  is  absolutely  impossible,  Gregory.  Leave 

"Everything  is  possible,  darling.  Everything  is 
possible.  I  shall  at  once  ask  Mama  for  5,000  rubles 
to  get  you  a  printing  press.  Only  make  my  peace 
with  Hermogenes." 

I  got  up  and  began  to  dress.  After  I  got  through 
washing,  Gregory  suddenly  prostrated  himself  at  my 
feet  and  began  to  cry : 

"Save  me!  Papa  and  Mama  are  afraid  of  a  scan- 
dal, and  a  scandal  is  sure  to  come.  Pity  Papa  and 
Mama.     They  love  you,  they  love  you  so  very  much !" 

"Leave  me  alone,  Gregory!  I  shall  not  go  to 

"Darling,  at  least  take  me  to  him;  I  shall  speak 
to  him  myself.     For  God's  sake,  do!" 

"But  he  won't  even  talk  to  you." 

"Well,  go  and  tell  him  that  I,  Gregory,  wish  to  bid 
him  good-by." 

A  thought  flashed  through  my  mind,  "Even  to  a 
devil  one  must  be  not  only  just,  but  also  lenient."  In 
that  moment  I  pitied  Gregory,  and  I  went  to  see  Her- 

238       THE  MAD  MONK  OF  RUSSIA 

"Let  him  come  in,"  the  bishop  said;  "but  I  shall 
not  face  him.  I  shall  speak  to  him  with  my  back 
tm-ned  toward  him.  I  shall  not  let  the  cur  come  near 
me."  I  conveyed  Hermogenes's  will  to  Gregory, 
who  literal^  ran  into  the  study.  Hermogenes  stood 
with  his  back  toward  him;  with  his  face  almost 
squeezed  into  the  corner  where  the  ikons  hung,  he 
stood  chewing  a  wafer  and  drinking  holy  water. 

"Master!"  exclaimed  Gregory;  and  then,  as  if 
stung  by  something,  he  rushed  out  of  the  apartment, 
putting  on  his  overcoat  and  hat  as  he  went. 

This  was  his  last  encounter  with  Hermogenes. 
Gregory,  as  we  discovered  later,  ran  directly  to  the 
telegraph  office  and  sent  the  imperial  family  a  tele- 
gram full  of  incredible  slander.  He  wrote  that  Her- 
mogenes and  I  had  intended  to  kill  him,  to  strangle 
him  in  our  apartments.  The  following  fact  corrob- 
orated this.  In  February,  1912,  when  Hermogenes 
and  I  were  already  in  confinement,  Czheglovitoff 
once  said  a  good  word  about  us  to  the  czar.  But 
Nicholas  slapped  him  on  the  shoulder,  saying: 

"No,  I  can't  pardon  such  villains.  Were  n't  they 
planning  to  strangle  Gregory  Ephimovich?"  Nik- 
olas Popoff,  who  came  to  see  me  at  the  Floritcheva 
Hermitage  told  me  this,  quoting  Rodionov,  who  was 
a  friend  of  Czheglovitoff. 



Having  returned  to  Tsaritzin,  I  spent  my  holidays 
with  a  heavy  presentiment  of  impending  disaster. 
Rasputin,  at  Tsarskoe  Selo  with  Viroubova,  was  mo- 
bihzing  all  his  forces,  the  czar,  the  czarina,  Viroubova, 
MackarofF,  Kokovzeff,  S abler,  and  Damansky,  hav- 
ing previously  appointed  the  latter  assistant  high 
procurator  of  the  Holy  Synod.  To  conceal  his 
presence  in  the  capital  Gregory  ordered  his  friends 
to  announce  in  the  papers  that  he  had  gone  home. 
Of  course  the  newspaper  men  willingly  did  his 
bidding.  In  order  to  reassure  Nicholas  and  Alex- 
andra that  the  scandal  had  not  penetrated  beyond 
the  court  circles  and  that  the  "impudent  sally"  of 
Hermogenes  and  myself  against  him  had  no  signif- 
icance whatever,  Rasputin  summoned  Bishop  Barn- 
aby,  already  known  to  the  reader.  Barnaby  reas- 
sured the  czar  and  czarina,  saying  to  them:  "Don't 
worry.  We  shall  protect  God's  great  servant,  Greg- 
ory." Then  the  imperial  family,  urged  on  by  Ras- 
putin, decided  to  punish  most  severely  the  "villains" 
who  had  attempted  the  life  of  the  godly  ascetic.  The 
punishment  began  during  the  Christmas  holidays, 
when  Bishop  Nickon  alone  was  at  the  Holy  Synod. 


240       THE  MAD  MONK  OF  RUSSIA 

On  January  8,  1912,  in  the  evening,  while  riding 
through  the  streets  of  Tsaritzin,  I  received  the  fol- 
lowing message  from  Hermogenes  in  Petrograd: 

My  dear  and  precious  friend  Iliodor: 

Our  enemies  destroy  all  our  plans.  I  have  been  removed 
from  the  Synod.  The  permission  for  your  printing-shop, 
paper,  and  magazine  has  been  revoked.  The  main  work  is 
being  done  by  the  two  "hermits,"  Sabler  and  Damansky,  and 
the  nasty,  half-slaughtered  owl  that  you  saw  in  your  dream. 
Come  here  at  once.  We  shall  fight  the  common  enemy. 
Help  me.     Affectionately  yours, 


The  next  day  I  assembled  the  people  and  offered  a 
Te  Deum  for  travelers.  The  people,  feeling  a  pre- 
sentiment of  something  evil,  wept  bitterly  and  even 
tried  to  prevent  me  from  going. 

I  reached  Petrograd  on  the  morning  of  January 
12.  Hardty  had  I  greeted  Hermogenes  before  he 
began  to  say: 

"Well,  I  have  been  dismissed  from  the  Synod.  On 
January  3,  Sabler  came  to  me  and  said:  'Master,  the 
Synod  has  transferred  you  to  the  diocese.  You  have 
many  affairs  to  attend  to  there.'  'What  Synod?'  I 
asked.  'There  is  only  one  member  of  the  Synod  in 
Petrograd  just  now,  Bishop  Nickon.'  And  he  said: 
'Well,  the  emperor  has  already  approved  my  report. 
All  that 's  left  for  you  to  do  now  is  to  go  in  peace. 
Go;  but  give  me  your  blessing.  Master.'  I  shouted: 
'I  'm  no  master  of  yours.  Your  master  is  Grishka 
Rasputin.  Leave  me.  I  rushed  at  him.  He  hardly 
had  time  to  seize  his  fur  coat  and  hat." 


"You  have  made  a  good  beginning,  your  Grace," 
I  said.     "We  must  continue  in  the  same  spirit." 

Just  then  Mitia  the  Bhssful  and  the  writer  Rodio- 
nov  came  in.     Mitia,  having  greeted  me,  said: 

"The  czarina  wants  to  unfrock  you  at  once  and 
give  you  a  jail-bird's  passport,  but  the  czar  wishes  to 
avoid  a  scandal." 

"How  do  you  know  all  that?" 

"Orlov  and  Putiatin  have  told  me  about  it." 

"Well,  let  him  just  try  to  unfrock  me!  And  on 
account  of  whom?  On  account  of  the  devil  Raspu- 
tin?    I  '11  rise  against  the  czar." 

"What 's  the  matter  with  you,  Father?  Does  one 
dare  to  revolt  against  the  czar?"  Rodionov,  terribly 
agitated,  tried  to  calm  me. 

"I  will,  I  will;  I'll  rise  against  everybody.  I'll 
perish,  but  rise  I  will.  I  shall  not  reconcile  myself 
to  falsehood.  They  are  the  imperial  family,  and  just 
see  how  they  carry  on !     I  have  suffered  long  enough." 

Everybody  was  silent  and  looked  at  me,  while  I, 
greatly  excited,  strode  back  and  forth,  cursing  the 
imperial  family,  the  Synod,  and  the  ministers. 

The  same  day  I  received  the  newspaper  men  and 
issued  a  protest  through  the  press.  On  January  14, 
Hermogenes,  Rodionov,  and  I  called  on  Goremykin. 

"Ivan  Logginovich,"  I  begged,  "you  yourself  told 
us  that  you  dismissed  the  first  Duma.  The  czar 
kissed  you  for  that,  called  you  his  father,  and  asked 
you  to  bless  him  and  the  heir.  Ivan  Logginovich, 
you  have  already  received  all  kinds  of  distinctions. 

242       THE  MAD  MONK  OF  RUSSIA 

If  you  were  to  adorn  yourself  with  all  your  orders 
and  medals,  there  would  be  no  room  on  your  chest. 
You  would  have  to  hang  them  either  on  your  trousers 
or  your  back.  You  have  nothing  to  gain  and  noth- 
ing to  lose.  For  God's  sake!  go  to  the  czar  and  ask 
him  to  grant  Bishop  Hermogenes  an  audience  and 
give  him  a  chance  to  explain." 

"No,  no;  I  cannot,"  answered  Goremykin.  "The 
court  etiquette  does  not  permit  it.  Father  Iliodor." 
That  very  day  Hermogenes  went  to  consult  the 
Grand  Duchess  Militza  Nicolaievna.  Militza,  ac- 
cording to  Hermogenes,  denounced  Rasputin  in  very 
strong  terms,  but  refused  to  come  out  against  him, 
giving  as  a  reason  that  the  saint  had  botli  the  czar 
and  especially  the  czarina  fast  in  his  clutches. 

On  January  15,  Goremykin  came  to  the  hostelry  of 
the  Jaroslavl  Monastery,  but  could  not  help  us  in 
any  way.  Twice  the  czar  wrote  to  the  Synod,  "I 
hope  the  Holy  Synod  will  persuade  Bishop  Hermo- 
genes to  leave  Petrograd  for  Saratoff."  Three 
Synod  members,  Nazarius,  Seraphim,  and  Nickon, 
hoping  to  be  rewarded  for  executing  the  czar's  com- 
mand, bent  before  his  will,  came  to  the  hostelry,  and 
begged  Hermogenes  to  submit  to  the  czar's  orders. 
Hermogenes  insisted,  "I  shall  obey  the  czar,  but  not 
Grishka  Rasputin!"  He  was  ill  in  bed  at  the  time. 
Nothing  could  be  done  to  persuade  him.  Nickon 
especially  tried  his  best.  I  could  refrain  no  longer 
and  peeped  into  Hermogenes's  bedroom.  He  was 
half  reclining  on  the  cushions,  while  Nickon,  who 


was  cross-eyed,  sat  on  a  chair  near  the  night-table 
and  squinted  sidewise.  With  one  eye  trying  to  see 
something  under  Hermogenes's  bed,  and  with  the 
other  looking  up  at  the  thick  layer  of  cobwebs  on  the 
ceiling,  he  drawled  out  in  a  sepulchral  voice : 

"Master,  my  brother  in  Christ,  obe-e-e-y  the  czar*s 

"I  don't  obey  Rasputin,"  was  Hermogenes's  curt 

"Well,  but  Rasputin  acts  through  the  czar.  Have 
pity  on  the  czar,  on  God's  church.  We  must  not 
speak  openly  of  this  imperial  plague,  Rasputin.  We 
all  know  this  devil's  son;  but  we  must  not  tell  the 
people  lest  they  rise  against  the  czar  and  God's 

"Let  the  Synod  explain  the  situation  to  the  czar; 
the  people  need  not  know,"  replied  Hermogenes. 

"But  the  czar  won't  listen  to  anybody.  He  only 
commands  us  to  banish  you  from  Petrograd,  that 's 
all.  Kind  brother  Hermogenes,  please  obey  the 

As  he  was  leaving  the  antechamber  he  threw  me  a 
glance  with  his  wild,  squinting  eyes  and  hissed, 
"You  '11  get  your  deserts,  too." 

On  the  evening  of  January  18,  at  Hermogenes's 
request,  I  wrote  the  following  telegram  to  the  czar, 
Hermogenes  sitting  near  me  and  weeping  very  bit- 
terly all  the  while : 

Father  Czar: 

I  have  devoted  my  entire  life  to  serving  the  church  and 

244       THE  MAD  MONK  OF  RUSSIA 

the  throne.  I  have  served  faithfully,  sparing  no  efforts. 
The  noon  of  my  life  is  past ;  my  head  is  white.  And  now  in 
my  old  age  you,  Emperor,  are  banishing  me  from  the  capital. 
I  am  ready  to  go  wherever  you  send  me,  but  first  grant  me 
an  audience,  so  that  I  may  reveal  to  you  a  certain  secret  that 
weighs  on  my  mind. 

Bishop  Hermogenes. 

To  this  appeal  the  following  answer  came  through 
the  Synod,  "I  do  not  care  to  know  anything  about  any 
secret.  Nicholas."  After  that  the  bishop  com- 
pelled me  to  compose  a  telegram  to  Alexandra.  I 
wrote:  "Mother  Czarina:  My  way  to  the  emperor 
is  obstructed.  Help  me,  open  the  way  for  me. 
Bishop  Hermogenes."  Alexandra  answered:  I 
am  sorry,  but  I  can  do  nothing  in  the  matter.  One 
must  obey  the  powers  appointed  by  God.  Alex- 
andra." Hermogenes  spat  on  this  telegram  and 
muttered : 

"What  hypocrisy!  These  are  Grishka's  answers. 
He  sits  at  the  palace  and  dictates  them."  And  in- 
deed, as  Mitia  the  Blissful  discovered,  Rasputin  was 
then  at  court  advising  the  czar  and  czarina  what  to 
do  and  how  to  act. 

At  11  p.  M.  on  January  17  two  packets  were 
brought  from  the  Synod,  a  large  one  for  Hermogenes, 
a  small  one  for  me.  Hermogenes  opened  his.  It 
said  that  for  disobeying  the  Synod  and  the  emperor 
he  was  sent  into  exile,  by  imperial  order,  at  the 
Jirovitsky  Monastery.  I  opened  mine,  and  found 
that  I  was  banished  by  imperial  order  to  the  Florit- 


shev  Hermitage,  in  the  government  of  Vladimir,  lo- 
cated far  away  from  any  human  habitation,  amid 
impassable  forests.  Not  a  word  was  said  in  the  de- 
cree about  the  cause  of  my  exile. 

Having  read  my  banishment  decree,  I  bent  my 
head  low,  and  without  taking  leave  of  anybody,  went 
to  my  room.  I  immediately  decided  to  see  the  mat- 
ter through.  At  midnight  M.  O.  Paosersky  of  the 
staff  of  the  "Vechernee  Vremia"  called  me  up  and 
asked  me  what  I  intended  to  do. 

"I  shall  walk  to  the  Sergius  Monastery,"  I  said, 
"and  from  there  to  the  Floritshev  Hermitage.  The 
decree  does  not  specify  how  I  am  to  get  there.  I  '11 
go  on  foot." 

The  next  morning  the  papers  stated  that  I  had  set 
out  on  foot  for  Moscow.  My  plan  was  to  escape  to 
Tsaritzin,  assemble  the  people  in  my  monastery,  and 
start  a  rebellion  against  absolutism.  As  a  matter 
of  fact,  as  I  was  just  leaving  my  lodging,  warmly 
dressed,  and  having  attached  a  bag  with  my  Bible 
to  my  shoulder,  Hermogenes's  lay  brother  Fedia  sud- 
denly appeared,  saying: 

"Father,  where  are  you  going?  They  '11  arrest  you 
near  Petrogi-ad.     Return.     Consult  the  master." 

His  words  brought  me  to  my  senses,  and  I  re- 
mained at  the  Jaroslavl  hostelry,  hidden  in  the  remote 
apartments  until  night  came,  when  Rodionov  and 
Mitia,  disguising  me  in  somebody's  old  overcoat,  put 
me  in  a  coach  and  took  me  to  the  residence  of  Piotr 
Badmaef,  the  doctor  of  Tibetan  medicine.     There 

246      THE  MAD  MONK  OF  RUSSIA 

I  stayed  for  seven  days.  I  read  in  the  papers  how 
the  police  and  the  newspaper  men  were  searching  for 
me.  It  was  still  my  intention  to  go  to  Tsaritzin. 
However,  I  learned  that  my  monastery  was  closed 
and  that  nobody  was  allowed  to  enter  it  and  that 
patrols  were  watching  for  me  on  all  the  roads  leading 
thither.  Then  I  surrendered  to  the  authorities  and, 
accompanied  by  ten  gendarmes,  was  despatched  to 
the  place  of  my  exile.  As  I  was  starting,  this  note 
was  handed  to  me :  "My  beloved  child :  God  be  with 
you  on  your  way  to  the  Floritshev  Hermitage! 
May  the  Heavenly  Queen  keep  watch  over  you. 
Affectionately  yours,  Hermogenes."  That  same 
day  he  left  for  the  Jirovitsky  JNIonastery. 

The  journey  to  the  Floritshev  Hermitage  took  a 
day  and  a  half.  Arriving,  surrounded  with  guards,  I 
was  placed  in  a  small,  damp  room,  with  crumbling 
floors  and  with  solid  iron  bars  at  the  narrow  windows. 
There  was  a  small  stove  in  one  corner.  The  prior 
of  the  monastery  was  exceedingly  surprised  to  re- 
ceive orders  that  I  should  be  treated  in  this  way, 
having  prepared  for  me,  a  learned  monk,  decent  quar- 
ters of  four  rooms.  It  was  not  till  1913,  when  I  read 
Lochtina's  diaries,  that  everything  became  clear  to 
me.  I  discovered  there  the  following  letter  from 
Rasjiutin,  written  probably  from  Petrograd : 

Darling  Papa  and  Mama : 

God  hurled  the  rebel  down  from  heaven.  And  IHodor  must 
be  sent  to  jail.  Let  him  realize  there  what  it  means  to  rise 
against  the  anointed  sovereign.     Men  like  him  used  to  be 

ch^ucxytn%     u,^^ta::^eoY^r7^^'^^       ^c-rnoiyuA^ 

/^<^^^-€i-t^^  (x-/^^m<^^2^     ^/^i.^c6^  c^fcc?^c?d 

^^H^^mZ     V^ttz^UAA^      /^^PiA^7ty^ 


„         Original  in  possession  of  Fattier  Iliodor 

ranslation: — "  The  lives  of  our  brothers  and  sisters  serve  wm  as  examples  and  their  death  as  consolation,  because 
we  have  spoken  with  them  of  the  hereafter  and  the\-  lie  where  there  is  no  sorrow.  It  is  a  great  thing  to  speak 
of  the  house  of  death.  You  see  your  brothers  dead.  You  think  of  the  place  where  you  took  food  with 
them,  and  where  you  talked  of  the  Church  and  the  Holy  Mysteries" 


killed  once.     Let  there  be  no  leniency  for  him.     Give  the 
bishop  orders  to  this  effect. 


I  found  myself  in  a  place  of  exile,  blessed  by  the 
saint,  and  Hermogenes  likewise.  Rasputin,  in  order 
to  hide  his  traces,  retired  to  the  village  of  Poksrovs- 
koye,  having  previously  spent  two  hours  at  a  recep- 
tion at  W.  M.  Kokovzev's,  whom  he  made  premier 
in  September.  "You  see,"  he  announced  to  the  news- 
paper men  just  before  his  departure  from  Petrograd, 
"I  spit  on  everybody." 

The  czar  and  czarina  were  evidently  embarrassed 
by  the  uproar  our  affair  caused  throughout  Russia, 
for  they  sent  to  Poksrovskoye  and  asked  the  saint's 
advice.  This  is  literally  what  is  recorded  in  Loch- 
tina's  diaries  under  the  date  of  March  6,  1912 : 

Father  Gregory  said  to-day  that  he  would  like  to  rip 
open  Father  Iliodor's  belly. 

And  to  the  czar  and  czarina  he  wrote : 

Papa  and  my  darling  Mama : 

Never  mind  the  noise,  it  will  disappear  like  flowing  water. 
You  need  feel  no  embarrassment.  It  is  always  so,  they  will 
get  tired  of  it.  The  czar  and  czarina  are  above  all.  And 
you  must  be  so.  God  sends  consolation,  and  the  devil 
distress.  And  God  is  mightier  than  the  devil.  Sabler  and 
Damansky  will  attend  to  everything.     Yes. 


I  began  to  struggle.  I  refused  to  leave  my  cell. 
I  saw  reporters.  Rasputin  wrote  to  the  czar  and 

250      THE  MAD  MONK  OF  RUSSIA 

Darling  Papa  and  Mama : 

We  must  subdue  the  rebel  Iliodor.  Otherwise  the  dog  will 
devour  everybody.  He  's  a  malicious  dog ;  he  does  n't  care. 
It  is  necessary  to  break  his  teeth.  Treat  him  more  strictly. 
More  guards.     Yes. 


The  task  of  subduing  me  fell  on  the  drunken  arch- 
bishop of  Vladimir,  Nicholas,  who  recently  died  of 
alcoholic  apoplectic  stroke  at  the  Petrograd  monas- 
tery. Nobody  was  allowed  to  see  me.  No  letters 
were  transmitted.  Ai*med  soldiers  surrounded  my 
cell.  Shutters  were  attached  to  my  windows,  and  as 
soon  as  the  sun  set  locks  were  hung  on  the  shutters. 
My  life  in  the  dungeon  was  becoming  more  and  more 
unbearable.  I  decided,  if  possible,  to  escape.  I 
succeeded  in  communicating  with  some  friends  in 
Tsaritzin,  whom  I  asked  to  send  a  contingent  of  faith- 
ful men  immediately.  All  day  they  traveled.  But 
when  they  arrived  the  police  would  not  let  them  ap- 
proach me  except  in  the  presence  of  the  authorities. 

In  my  room  I  had  some  cranberries,  the  acid  flavor 
of  which  I  enjoyed  very  much.  These  berries  gave 
me  an  idea.  I  extracted  some  of  the  juice,  which 
somewhat  resembled  blood,  and  placed  it  where  it 
would  be  observed.  Then  I  lay  down  on  my  bed  and 
called  for  some  of  the  authorities  of  the  Hermitage, 
saying:  "I  am  dying.  Let  me  see  a  couple  of  my 
friends."  They  had  already  been  much  upset  over 
the  state  of  my  health,  so  they  gave  permission  for  ten 
men  to  communicate  with  me  for  a  few  minutes.    I 


instructed  these  men  to  tell  the  others  that  I  was 
going  to  make  a  desperate  attempt  to  escape,  and  for 
them  to  provide  the  subterranean  chambers  at  Tsar- 
itzin  with  water  and  provisions  and  to  make  ready 
for  a  siege. 

Two  men  were  to  help  my  escape  through  the  win- 
dow and  on  board  a  steamer,  which  was  specially 
chartered  to  carry  me  down  the  Volga  to  Tsaritzin. 
Everything  was  made  ready  there  in  the  subterranean 
passages,  and  three  thousand  men  took  oath  to  defend 
the  monastery  and  to  leave  all  to  die,  if  necessary, 
for  their  father. 

On  the  night  when  the  escape  was  planned  one  of 
the  men  came  to  me  through  the  chimney,  the  other 
taking  charge  of  a  carriage  outside  that  was  to  con- 
vey me  to  the  pier  where  the  steamer  was  docked. 
The  man  who  joined  me  was  to  remain  in  the  room 
after  my  departure  in  order  to  impersonate  me  if  any 
one  came. 

It  is  customary  when  a  prisoner  is  held  in  a  monas- 
tery for  a  servant  always  to  knock  at  the  door  and 
ask  what  the  prisoner  wants,  and  to  leave  the  objects 
outside  the  door,  the  prisoner  taking  them  in  himself. 
At  twelve  o'clock,  the  hour  appointed  for  the  escape, 
everj^thing  was  in  readiness.  A  rope  was  attached  to 
me,  to  draw  me  out  by  way  of  the  chimney.  But  the 
man  who  was  waiting  for  me  outside  proved  to  be  a 
traitor.  His  name  was  Sinitzin.  I  mention  him  be- 
cause the  reader  will  meet  him  later.  When  the  time 
came  to  make  my  escape  the  moon  was  shining  so 

252      THE  MAD  MONK  OF  RUSSIA 

brightly  that  every  tree  of  the  adjoining  forest  was 
clearly  visible,  and,  to  my  horror,  I  saw  human  forms 
among  the  trees.  In  that  moment  of  consternation  I 
realized  that  I  was  betrayed,  and  I  said  to  my  com- 
panion: "Look!  There  are  policemen  in  the  forest. 
Our  cause  is  lost." 

From  twelve  until  one  o'clock  we  discussed  what 
should  be  our  next  move.  At  one  o'clock  some  one 
knocked  at  my  door.  I  had  heard  a  noise  and  deep 
voices  which  I  recognized  as  those  of  the  inmates  of 
the  monastery,  and  by  the  clanking  of  the  sabers  and 
spurs  I  knew  only  too  well  that  the  police  were  with 
them.  I  opened  the  door  slightly,  and  saw  in  the 
corridor  all  the  members  of  the  monastery,  accom- 
panied by  the  police.  I  could  hear  the  clergj^  mur- 
muring: "My  God!  my  God!  he  has  escaped!  We 
are  lost!"  My  companion  crawled  under  the  bed, 
and  I  kept  silent,  awaiting  what  would  come  next. 
The  police  outside  the  building  got  a  ladder,  and  I 
could  see  in  the  dark  the  lighting  of  a  match  and  his 
silhouette.  I  approached  the  window  while  the  match 
was  still  burning  and  said,  "I  am  here."  The  officer 
shouted  with  a  powerful  voice:  "He  is  here!  He  is 
here!"  A  few  seconds  later  I  could  hear  prayers  in 
the  corridors.  The  people  of  the  monasteiy  were 
thanking  God  for  having  averted  a  great  calamity. 

When  the  murmur  of  the  prayers  died  away,  I 
threw  open  the  door  of  my  cell  and  invited  the  crowd 
outside  to  enter.  The  commander  came  in  and  said, 
"There  is  a  man  in  your  cell.     What  is  his  name?" 


I  answered,  "Stephen  Alad."  (He  has  been  dec- 
orated for  bravery  in  the  present  war.)  But  Alad 
was  not  to  be  seen.  During  my  imprisonment  my 
followers  had  sent  me  dried  vobla  fish  in  such  great 
quantities  that  I  was  able  to  screen  him  from  sight 
by  means  of  them.  The  officers  looked  into  the  chim- 
ney, examined  the  rope,  peered  under  the  bed,  and, 
seeing  nothing  but  dried  fish,  thought  my  companion 
must  have  escaped.  As  the  police  .were  holding  a 
conference  in  my  cell  in  regard  to  the  refugee  I  was 
about  to  say  a  prayer  to  God  for  his  safety  when,  to 
my  horror,  I  heard  a  deep  snore  from  under  the  bed. 
The  poor  devil  had  fallen  asleep  from  overstrain  and 
was  snoring  hke  a  locomotive.  Of  course  the  next 
moment  he  was  dragged  out  from  under  the  fish, 
still  asleep.  In  this  way  my  attempt  to  escape  came 
to  nothing. 

Meanwhile  a  great  scandal  had  broken  out  in  Petro- 
grad  owing  to  a  letter  containing  a  full  account  of 
Rasputin's  exploits  which  I  had  written  to  the  czar 
and  handed  to  Badmaef .  It  turned  out  that  he  had 
transmitted  the  letter  not  to  the  emperor,  but  to  the 
president  of  the  Duma,  Rodzianko,  and  the  deputies 
Gouchkov  and  Kamensky,  who  had  subsequently 
called  upon  Badmaef  and  discussed  it  with  him. 
Later,  on  the  basis  of  this  letter,  Gouchkov  and 
Purishkevich  delivered  thundering  speeches  in  denun- 
ciation of  the  Synod  and  Sabler.  Copies  of  the 
letter,  moreover,  were  circulated  all  over  Petrograd, 
in  the  salons  and  among  the  members  of  the  state 

254      THE  MAD  MONK  OF  RUSSIA 

council  and  the  Duma.  In  this  way  the  secret  which 
Nicholas  had  not  wanted  to  hear,  and  which  the  Synod 
had  carefully  concealed,  began  to  be  divulged. 

The  letter  reached  Alexandra  and  infuriated  her. 
A.  E.  Pistolkors  wrote  me  at  the  hermitage:  "A 
letter  is  being  circulated  in  Petrograd ;  it  has  reached 
Mama.  The  letter  is  horrible.  It  is  ascribed  to  you. 
Answer."  Of  course  I  did  not  reply.  But  I  wrote 
to  Anna  Viroubova:  "Sister  in  Christ:  How  long 
will  you  side  with  Rasputin?  Forget  him.  If  you 
do  not  leave  him,  a  great  all-Russian  scandal  will 
break  out.  Woe  to  you  then!  Listen  to  my  advice. 
Fear  God.     Repent.     Iliodor." 

Pistolkors  replied  in  Viroubova's  name:  "Father 
Iliodor:  What  kind  of  scandal  do  you  threaten  in 
your  letter  to  Annushka?  Who  is  going  to  arrange 
the  scandal?  You?  It  is  possible.  The  French 
Revolution  was  started  when  the  queen  was  accused 
of  stealing  some  diamonds." 

I  answered  very  cautiously:  "I  am  not  going  to 
slander  anybody.  I  champion  truth.  You  had  bet- 
ter leave  the  miserable  saint.  And  don't  bother  me 
with  your  letters.     Iliodor." 

During  this  correspondence  Rodionov  sent  two 
messengers  to  me  at  the  hermitage  to  get  certain  let- 
ters of  the  czarina  and  her  daughters  to  Rasputin, 
which  the  saint  had  given  me  as  souvenirs  during  my 
visit  to  him  at  Poksrovskove.  Thev  were  full  of  en- 
dearing  expressions.  These  letters  had  been  brought 
to  me  from  Tsaritzin  by  my  brother  Alexander,  to 



whom  I  had  wired  for  them.  For  his  visit  to  me  he 
was  immediately  deprived,  without  trial,  of  his  po- 
sition as  psalm-reader  and  forced  to  join  the  army 
as  a  private.  I  sent  the  originals  of  these  letters  to 
Rodionov,  keeping  copies  for  myself.  A  few  days 
later  Rodionov  replied,  saying  that  he  had  transmitted 
my  letters  to  the  czar.  I  was  exceedingly  displeased 
by  this,  for  my  object  in  letting  Rodionov  have  the 
letters  was  not  to  give  them  to  the  czar,  but  to  have 
him  start  an  earnest  campaign  against  the  saint.  In- 
stead of  this  he  had  played  into  the  hands  of  the 
"blissful  one."  It  happened  thus.  Nicholas,  hav- 
ing received  the  letters,  showed  them  to  Alexandra. 
Alexandra  wired  to  Poksrovskoye,  asking  the  saint 
how  her  letters  and  those  of  her  children  had  hap- 
pened to  come  into  my  possession.  And  Rasputin, 
true  to  his  nature  as  ever,  answered: 

Darling  Mama : 

Iliodor  is  a  cur.  He  's  a  thief.  He  steals  letters.  What 
nastiness !  He  stole  them  from  my  trunk  or  got  them  from 
somewhere  else.  Yes.  There  's  a  fine  priest  for  you !  He 
serves  the  devil.  Know  this :  he  has  sharp  teeth,  the  thief. 


The  letters  and  the  saint's  false  accusation  did  their 
work.  Alexandra  and  Nicholas  now  had  deadly 
proofs  of  my  guilt. 

On  May  8,  1912,  I  petitioned  the  Synod  to  un- 
frock me.     In  my  petition  I  wrote  as  follows: 

1  Lochtina's  diaries. 

256      THE  MAD  MONK  OF  RUSSIA 

Either  indict  Rasputin  for  his  horrible  crimes  committed 
on  religious  grounds  or  unfrock  me.  I  cannot  reconcile 
myself  to  the  fact  that  the  Synod,  the  bearer  of  the  Holy 
Ghost's  blessing,  should  shield  the  holy  devil  who  is  dese- 
crating Christ's  church.  Know  that  I  am  willing  to  rot  in 
the  dungeon,  but  that  I  shall  not  reconcile  myself  to  the 
desecration  of  God's  name. 

Iliodor,  priest. 

As  a  result  of  this  petition,  Hermogenes  sent  me 
the  following  telegram:  "Dear  Father  Iliodor: 
Suffer  a  little  longer.  Take  your  petition  back. 
The  last  wave  is  rising  and  succor  is  near."  To  this 
entreaty  I  wired  Hermogenes  just  this  one  word, 
"Farewell!"  That  was  the  end  of  our  friendship. 
Since  then  I  no  longer  know,  or  care  to  know,  Her- 
mogenes, although  I  never  say  anything  evil  about 

As  for  my  petition  to  unfrock  me,  the  Synod  de- 
cided to  "admonish  me  for  six  months,  as  demanded 
by  the  law."  Of  course  I  refused  to  receive  the  ad- 
monishers.  I  drove  them  back  from  the  threshold 
of  my  cell,  saying,  "Go  and  tell  the  Synod  not  to 
worship  the  holy  devil."  And  to  the  Synod  I  wrote 
as  follows: 

Please  cease  mocking  me.  Why  do  you  send  your  admon- 
ishers  to  disturb  me?  It  is  not  I  who  ought  to  be  admon- 
ished, but  you,  worshipers  of  the  devil  Grishka  Rasputin. 
I  shall  not  take  back  my  petition  unless  you  and  the  lay 
courts  indict  Grishka  for  his  exploits.  I  request  you  not 
to  send  me  any  more  admonishers,  but  rather  to  do  penance 
for  your  own  terrible  misdeeds. 

Iliodor,  priest. 


He  wears  the  cross  at  his  throat  in  order  to  refute  the  accusation  of  the  Holy  Synod 
that  he  had  renounced  Christianity 


Meanwhile  my  devotees  at  Tsaritzin  continued 
praying  and  hoping  that  the  czar  and  czarina  would 
come  to  their  senses  and  open  the  road  for  me  to  re- 
turn from  Floritschev.  They  were  extremely  rest- 
less. But  Nicholas  and  Alexandra,  instructed  by 
the  saint,  only  grew  more  and  more  furious.  Ras- 
putin wrote  to  them  from  Poksrovskoye : 

Darling  Papa  and  Mama : 

Iliodor  has  taught  them  to  rebel.  Don't  mind  his  women. 
Only  the  devils  listen  to  their  prayers.  Order  a  good  flog- 
ging for  those  women.  It  will  make  them  forget  about  the 
rebel,  and  they  will  be  humbled. 


It  was  just  after  this  letter  that  the  greatest,  most 
incredible  crime  was  committed  at  Tsaritzin. 

On  September  23  my  devotees  gathered  at  the 
monastery  church  and  sang  a  Te  Deum  to  the  Holy 
Virgin.  Suddenly  Archpriest  Strokov  and  Police 
Captain  Basil  Bronitzky  arrived  and,  following  ex- 
plicit instructions  from  Petrograd  from  the  Holy 
Synod  and  the  ministers,  ordered  the  police  to  drive 
the  people  out  of  the  church.  Twenty-six  policemen, 
headed  by  the  captain,  unsheathed  their  sabers,  and 
with  oaths  attacked  the  worshipers.  They  dragged 
the  women  and  girls  from  one  corner  of  the  church 
to  the  other,  tore  out  their  hair,  knocked  out  their 
teeth,  tore  their  dresses,  struck  them  in  the  face,  and 
did  other  shameful  and  incredible  things.  At  the 
end  of  two  hours  the  floor  of  the  church  resembled 

1  Lochtina's  diaries. 

260      THE  MAD  M0:N^K  OF  RUSSIA 

a  battle-field.  Everywhere  there  was  seen  blood  and 
torn  garments,  and  women  and  girls  lay  about  half 
unconscious.  The  police  arrested  many  of  these. 
They  were  imprisoned  to  this  very  year. 

Having  received  full  information  about  this  hor- 
rible crime,  I  wrote  sharp  letters  of  protest  to  S abler, 
Damansky,  the  governor  of  Saratoff  and  the 
Tsaritzin  chief  of  police  cursing  in  the  name  of  God 
all  those  who,  being  Orthodox  Christians,  had  dared 
to  countenance  a  butchery  of  God's  children  at  His 
altar.     To  Sabler  I  wrote  as  follows: 

You  worship  the  devil  Grishka  Rasputin,  traitor  and  apos- 
tate. Your  dirty  hands  must  not  steer  the  holy  rudder  of 
Christ's  bride,  God's  church ;  it  is  for  you  to  polish  the  devil's 
boots  in  hell.     I  say  this  because  of  my  duty  as  a  priest. 


And  here  are  a  few  excerpts  from  what  I  wrote  to 
the  Holy  Synod: 

Holy  Fathers : 

Why  do  you  not  get  rid  of  me  altogether?  If  it  is  out 
of  Christian  love,  let  me  teU  you  frankly  I  do  not  need  your 
love ;  it  is  too  much  like  the  love  of  a  wolf  for  a  sheep.  You 
would  have  got  rid  of  me  long  ago  were  you  not  afraid  lest 
your  own  sins  would  be  revealed.  That  is  why  you  spare 
me.  You  dare  not  bring  my  affair  to  an  end.  But  I  shall 
help  you. 

Who  are  you?  You  are  career-seekers.  You  have  for- 
gotten God's  glory  and  sought  only  mortal  fame.  You  are 
servile  and  humble  before  the  authorities  in  order  to  secure 
your  earthly  well-being.  You  despise  the  poor,  you  kiss  the 
rich.     All  your  Life  is  a  continual  festival.     You  wear  luxu- 


rious  silk  cassocks,  you  ride  in  rich  coaches,  you  sleep  in  soft 
beds,  you  drink  the  best  wine.  You  are  proud,  haughty, 
and  rancorous.  You  excuse  yourselves  by  saying  that  you 
intend  to  bequeath  your  wealth  to  useful  institutions,  but 
Christianity  recognizes  no  such  philanthropy.  It  appre- 
ciates philanthropy  in  which  conscience,  self-abnegation,  and 
disinterestedness  rule.  .  .  .  You  blind  the  people  with  your 
magnificence,  but  you  do  not  let  them  live.  Who  drives  you 
on?  Who  leads  you?  At  present  it  is  Sabler.  And  what 
kind  of  man  is  he.''  A  grafter  who  takes  bribes  of  arch- 
priests,  priors,  and  mother-superiors  of  monasteries. 
Anthony  of  Volhynia,  on  one  of  his  visits  to  Petrograd, 
spoke  about  Sabler's  bribery  as  follows.  "Oh,  he  's  such  an 
expert  at  it  that  he  is  likely  to  steal  the  purse  out  of  the 
devil's  pocket."  Those  words  were  uttered  in  my  pres- 
ence.   ... 

And  how  about  your  conscience.'^  Anthony  of  Volhynia 
is  the  incarnation  of  your  conscience.  He  is  your  chorus 
leader,  so  to  say.  Many  think  him  a  mysterious,  dark  force; 
but  I  know  him  well.  He  is  a  libertine.  I  have  heard  him 
use  the  profanest,  filthiest  expressions  in  the  language.  He 
receives  yearly  from  the  Pochaiev  Monastery  thirty  thousand 
rubles  of  the  people's  blood.  WTiat  does  he  do  with  the 
people's  hard-earned  money?  He  strives  to  win  the  repu- 
tation especially  among  the  students,  of  a  philanthropic, 
unmercenary  person.  He  distributes  his  money  without  any 
regard  to  consequences.  I  know  students  who,  having 
received  money  from  him,  have  spent  seventy  rubles  in  one 
night  with  women.  And  Anthony,  being  aware  of  this,  con- 
tinues to  give  money  to  these  good-for-nothings  because  they 
praise  his  non-existent  virtues. 

What  is  your  activity  during  Synod  sessions?  What  do 
you  do?  Your  principal  occupation  is  divorce  cases. 
Anthony  of  Volhynia  has  remarked  again  and  again,  "If 
the  Synod  loses  its  divorce  cases,  they  will  have  nothing  to 

262      THE  MAD  MONK  OF  RUSSIA 

do,  for  the  divorce  cases  make  up  three  quarters  of  their 
work."  And  what  are  these  cases?  Filthy,  nasty,  repulsive. 
It  might  become  a  policeman  to  deal  with  them,  but  not 
you,  saintly  prelates.  Does  it  become  you,  old  men,  to 
read  and  hear  the  most  indecent  testimony.?  After  your 
luxurious  luncheons  and  dinners  you  delight  in  these  filthy 
affairs.  And  can  you  possibly  understand  while  in  that 
mood  that  somewhere,  far  away  in  Tsaritzin,  there  are  fol- 
lowers of  Iliodor  who  pray  to  God,  crave  for  a  spiritual  life, 
yearn  for  communion  with  God,  desire  to  live  in  peace  and 
love  with  men.?  For  eight  years  you  have  been  making  game 
of  me ;  you  have  driven  me  from  city  to  city  for  my  zealous 
devotion,  you  have  tortured  me  both  physically  and  mentally. 
I  have  to  tliis  day  considered  the  SjTiod  equivalent  to  an 
infallible  assembly,  acting  in  accordance  with  the  Holy 
Spirit.  Was  I  the  only  one  who  thought  so.?  Did  not  the 
entire  Russian  Orthodox  Church  regard  the  Synod  as  the 
organ  of  the  Holy  Spirit  dwelling  in  the  church  and  ruling 
her.?  The  entire  Russian  Church,  in  the  person  of  its  best 
sons  and  daughters,  has  applied  to  you,  asking:  "What  has 
Iliodor  been  imprisoned  for.?  Why  has  he  been  exiled  from 
Tsaritzin?"  And  you  have  not  answered  yet.  What  can 
you  answer?  If  you,  unexpectedly,  were  to  tell  the  truth, 
half  of  the  church  would  forsake  you.  It  is  fear  that  seals 
your  lips.     Hence  I  shall  have  to  speak  for  you. 

You,  traitors  to  Christ,  imprisoned  me,  following  the 
orders  of  certain  powerful  people,  because  I  exposed  the 
scoundrel  Rasputin.  How  have  you  treated  me  and  my 
beloved  spiritual  children?  I  hope  that  you  yourselves  will 
not  deny  that  all  that  has  been  done  to  us  by  the  clerical 
and  lay  authorities  from  January  18,  1912,  to  this  day  has 
been  done  with  your  sanction.  When  on  January  18  you 
decided  to  exile  me  to  the  Floritschev  Hermitage,  I  was,  with 
your  permission,  arrested  by  gendarmes,  contrary  to  the 
promise  of  the  minister  of  the  interior.     In  Moscow,  again 


with  your  sanction,  I  was  surrounded  at  the  station  by  about 
thirty  policemen.  I  was  brought  to  the  Floritschev  Her- 
mitage, and  if  I  now  tell  you  what  the  life  at  that  monastery 
is  like  it  is  to  remind  you,  sitting  in  your  palaces,  that  you 
know  nothing  of  what  goes  on  among  the  masses.  You  do 
not  care  to  know.  The  Floritschev  Hermitage  is  not  a  mon- 
astery, but  a  bawdy-house.  Almost  every  monk  has  a  woman 
or  two.  Having  or  not  having  a  woman  depends  not  on  the 
requirements  of  asceticism,  but  on  the  number  of  years  one 
has  sptnt  in  the  monastery.  Whoever  has  lived  in  the  mon- 
astery a  long  time  may  live  with  a  woman  openly;  new- 
comers must  exercise  care.  Two  or  three  times  during  the 
year  a  great  number  of  women  pilgrims  flock  to  the  monas- 
tery.    The  majority  of  them  come  not  to  pray. 

And  you,  prelates,  having  exiled  me  to  Floritschev,  put 
me  under  the  surveillance  of  Archbishop  Nicholas,  a  sick, 
irresponsible  drunkard.  You  did  this  to  make  sport  of  me. 
Naturally,  drunken  and  rude  as  he  is,  full  of  unreasoning 
obedience  to  you  and  of  ill  wHl  toward  me,  he  began  to 
torture  me  and  my  dear  spiritual  children,  forgetting  all  the 
affairs  of  his  diocese.  At  the  hermitage,  with  your  sanction 
and  under  the  fatherly  guidance  of  the  dninken  archbishop, 
I  have  been  subjected  to  all  kinds  of  mockery  and  even 
physical  violence.  You  approved  of  this,  just  as  you  ap- 
proved of  the  butchery  of  my  innocent  spiritual  children  at 
Tsaritzin.  Are  people  allowed  to  pray  only  for  your  bellies, 
and  not  for  their  own  needs?  Why  have  you  appropriated 
the  rights  of  God?  Why  have  you  converted  the  churches, 
the  places  of  communion  with  God,  into  police  stations,  bus- 
iness offices  and  hostelries? 

You  are  haughty  men,  madmen ;  you  are  ungodly  men. 
By  means  of  curses  and  threats  of  hell  and  eternal  flames 
you  compel  the  poor,  timid  people  to  worship  you  and  to 
feed  your  insatiable  stomachs.  You  are  enemies  of  the  true 
God.     I  do  not  know  you,  and  from  this  time  on  I  do  not 

264       THE  MAD  MONK  OF  RUSSIA 

care  to  know  you.  I  despise  you  with  every  fiber  of  my  soul. 
With  you,  admirers  of  the  "holy  devil,"  the  filthy  rascal 
Grishka  Rasputin,  I  do  not  wish  to  be  in  spiritual  commun- 
ion. Therefore  unfrock  me  as  soon  as  possible  and  excom- 
municate me  from  your  church.  You  must  do  it.  The  law 
requires  it.  Beasts,  thriving  on  the  people's  blood,  how 
long  will  you  burden  the  people  under  the  sacrilegious  guise 
of  God's  name? 


On  November  8,  the  day  the  legal  term  for  ad- 
monishing me  expired,  I  was  not  yet  mifrocked. 
Rasputin's  adherents  were  afraid  to  do  it.  The 
czar  and  czarina  and  the  saint  opposed  it.  The- 
ophanes  informed  me  through  A.  A.  Zhukoff  that 
had  I  gone  to  church  twice  I  would  have  been  re- 
leased from  the  hermitage.  But  Metropolitan 
Vladimir  said  to  Zhukoff:  "How  can  we  pardon 
him?  He  will  not  humble  himself.  He  has  refused 
to  go  to  church  even  once."  Indeed,  the  humility 
the  saint  and  his  sovereign  and  holy  assistants  wished 
to  see  wa-s  far,  very  far  from  my  soul.  I  suppose  it 
was  possessed  by  the  pride  of  the  devils  expelled 
from  other  people  by  blissful  Gregory:  they  had 
entered  my  soul  and  possessed  it  entirely. 

On  November  19-20  I  sent  my  abdication  to  the 
Holy  Synod.  Having  written  it,  I  cut  my  arm  with 
a  razor  and  signed  it  with  my  blood.  This  is  what  I 
said : 

For  ten  months  I  have  appealed  to  you  to  do  penance. 
I  have  implored  you,  begged  you,  to  defend  Christ's  bride, 


the  Russian  Church,  from  the  violence  and  desecrations 
of  the  Hbertine  Grishka  Rasputin.  You  have  not  repented ; 
you  have  not  even  expressed  a  desire  to  do  so.  All  I  cart 
say  to  you  now  is,  "May  your  abode  be  empty!"  May 
eternal  truth  judge  you!  Now  I  renounce  your  faith.  I 
renounce  your  church.  I  renounce  you  as  prelates.  Under 
your  mantles  you  have  concealed  the  "holy  devil"  Gregory 
Ephimovich  Rasputin,  knowing  that  this  vessel  of  lawless- 
ness, pretending  to  consecrate  human  bodies,  has  ruined 
many.  You  have  known  this,  but  you  have  shielded  him 
while  intriguing  to  damnation  the  champions  of  the  purity 
and  innocence  of  Christ's  bride,  the  exposers  of  the  "holy 
devO."  While  the  body  of  the  church  trembled  like  a 
wounded  bird,  like  a  dove  in  a  hawk's  claws,  like  an  inno- 
cent maiden  before  an  insolent  violator,  you  solemnly,  at 
the  Synod,  extolled  the  hunter,  the  hawk,  the  violator,  and 
called  him  confessor.  And  you  sent  your  servants  to  the 
Imperial  Duma  to  proclaim  before  all  Russia,  before  the 
whole  world,  that  no  holy  devU  was  concealed  under  your 
clocks.  But  he  was  concealed,  and  he  is  still  being  shielded 
by  you.  He  enjoys  liis  freedom,  he  comes  to  Petrograd, 
and  even  puts  up  at  the  Synod  house  on  Liteinaja  Street. 
You  may  perhaps  be  permitted  thus  to  make  sport  of  others, 
but  not  of  me,  not  of  me.  I  shall  not  allow  you  to  mock  my 
ideals.  And  therefore,  from  now  on,  I  recognize  neither 
your  God  nor  you  as  his  prelates. 

My  renunciation  came  as  a  surprise  both  to  the 
Synod  and  the  saint.  It  took  them  unawares.  Ras- 
putin was  the  first  one  to  regain  his  senses.  This  is 
what  he  wrote  from  Poksrovskoye  to  the  imperial 
family : 

Darling  Papa  and  Mama: 

Iliodor   is   a  horrible  devil.     A  renegade.     An   accursed 

266      THE  MAD  MONK  OF  RUSSIA 

one.     He  must  be  declared  insane.     Doctors  must  be  called, 
or  he  will  prove  a  calamity.     He  dances  to  the  devil's  pipes. 


It  was  of  no  avail.  Although  I  did  not  know  then 
about  the  saint's  letter,  prompted  by  rumors  that 
came  from  Petrograd,  I  wrote  as  follows  to  the 
minister  of  justice: 

Your  Excellency: 

Metropolitan  Vladimir,  together  with  my  "friends"  in 
Petrograd,  are  planning  to  declare  me  insane.  What  devil- 
try! I  cannot  allow  that  history,  which  will  impartially 
analyze  my  affair,  should  say  that  I  have  not  been  respon- 
sible for  my  present  actions.  Therefore  I  ask  you  to  send 
physicians  to  me  inunediately  and  have  me  examined  in  the 
most  careful  manner.  I  am  perfectly  sane.  I  want  the 
physicians  to  corroborate  this  and  put  it  on  record.  I  shall 
await  the  doctors  from  day  to  day.  I  believe  and  hope  that 
I  shall  not  be  disappointed  in  my  lawful,  sacred  expectations, 
for  you  guard  human  rights,  the  rights  of  Russian  citizens. 
May  your  name  be  blessed ;  may  it  not  in  the  future  be  men- 
tioned with  that  of  Herod's,  the  assassin  of  John,  so  that 
coming  generations  of  Russian  people  will  curse  it  and  men- 
tion it  only  with  disgust !     With  sincere  belief  in  you, 

luoDOR,  the  priest. 

Of  course  no  physicians  were  sent  to  me. 

On  December  13-17,  1912,  the  Synod  unfrocked 
me,  not  as  a  result  of  my  request,  but  by  its  own  deci- 
sion, because  I  "doubted  the  succoring  resurrection 
of  the  Lord  God,  our  Saviour  Jesus  Christ." 

On  December  22,  the  following  came  to  my  humble 

1  Lochtina's  diaries. 


prison  cell:  Makarius,  prior  of  the  monastery;  the 
treasurer  INIelchisedek ;  Provost  Archpriest  Dmit- 
rievsky ;  the  colonel  of  gendarmes,  the  police  captain, 
a  police  inspector;  and  several  guards,  monks,  and 
lay  brothers,  twenty  men  in  all.  They  asked  me  to 
attest  my  unfrocking  on  synodical  paper,  and  I,  who 
for  nine  years  had  signed  my  name  as  Iliodor,  wrote 
Sergius  Trufanoff.  I  was  quite  composed.  I  said 
to  myself;  "Now  at  this  instant  God's  blessing, 
healing  the  sick  and  succoring  the  needy,  has  forsaken 
me.  The  blessing  brought  upon  me  once  at  the 
seminary  by  archbishop  Sergius  has  been  taken  from 
me  by  gendarmes  and  guards;  it  rests  now  on  a 
worthier  man,  on  the  saint  Gregory.  But  beware, 
you  impious  devils!  A  greater  blessing  has  been 
added  to  your  exposers." 

The  authorities  left,  and  I,  already  a  layman,  went 
to  my  birthplace,  my  parents'  home,  the  hamlet 
Bolschoye  in  the  district  of  the  Don. 

While  I  was  on  my  way,  or  perhaps  earlier,  the 
saint  wrote  to  the  imperial  family  the  following 
letter,  recorded  in  Lochtina's  diaries: 

Papa  mine  and  darling  Mama : 

Well,  the  devil  Sergius  Trufanoff,  the  renegade,  is  gone. 
Anathema.  He  's  at  large  now.  He  must  be  followed  lest 
he  incite  sedition.  Get  the  police  after  him.  Let  them 
break  his  teeth.     The  impious  one.     Yes. 




I  WENT  home  to  my  parents,  hoping  in  their  love 
to  find  consolation  and  rest  from  the  storms  and 
sorrows  of  my  life.  I  had,  of  course,  no  money,  and 
I  could  expect  no  assistance  from  my  relatives, 
who  were  all  poor.  I  could  not  enter  government 
service,  because  I  had  been  deprived  of  my  civil 
rights  for  twenty  years,  and  I  could  get  no  employ- 
ment of  a  private  kind  because  I  was  constantly  sur- 
rounded by  secret  police  agents.  In  fact,  during 
the  whole  year  and  a  half  that  I  spent  at  my  birth- 
place strict  watch  was  kept  over  me,  the  detective 
work  being  performed  by  seventeen  guards  and  two 
local  priests,  Ivliev  and  Stefanoff ,  the  latter  of  whom 
had  taught  me  twenty-seven  years  before  at  the 
primary  school  that  God  had  created  the  world  in  the 
way  that  children  blow  soap-bubbles.  These  guards 
followed  me,  and  recorded  in  diaries  every  word  I 
uttered  and  every  step  I  took. 

At  the  same  time  Mine.  Lochtina,  who  had  settled 
in  my  neighborhood,  tried  by  every  means  in  her 
power  to  reconcile  me  with  Gregory  and  to  make  me 
resume  my  former  life.  She  wrote  to  the  imperial 
family  about  it,  and  they,  through  Viroubova,  asked 
Rasputin's  advice.     He  replied:     "Sergius  Trufan- 



off,  the  renegade,  must  be  punished.  Impale  him. 
Anathema."  Again  he  wrote:  *'Sergius  Trufanoff, 
the  renegade,  must  be  hanged  so  that  his  tongue  sticks 
out  at  the  side  hke  a  dog's."  Lochtina,  however,  did 
not  give  up  hope.  Once  she  telegraphed  to  the  czar, 
on  board  the  yacht  Standard,  as  follows,  "When  will 
you  learn  to  love  Father  Iliodor?  Iliodor's  Olga." 
The  czar  and  czarina  sent  this  telegram  to  the  saint 
for  decision.  He  wrote  on  the  other  side  of  the 
telegram  the  following  words,  "If  one  is  to  pardon 
dogs  like  Sergius  Trufanoff,  he,  the  cur,  will  devour 
everybody."     This  telegram  is  now  in  my  possession. 

Meanwhile  my  followers  kept  coming  to  me,  saying 
that  they  did  not  so  much  wish  to  talk  with  me  about 
religion  as  to  ask  my  help  in  ridding  Russia  of  the 
czar  and  Rasputin.  I  told  them  that  to  accomplish 
this  I  would  have  to  shed  blood,  and  that  bloodshed 
was  against  the  principles  of  the  new  faith  that  had 
come  to  me  since  I  had  renounced  Orthodoxy.  But 
they  were  not  to  be  put  off,  and  finally  came  to  me 
with  four  hundred  thousand  rubles,  saying  that  they 
had  sold  their  land,  their  flocks  and  herds,  every- 
thing, to  get  the  money,  and  begging  me  to  use  it  in 
some  way  that  would  establish  justice  and  the  will 
of  the  people. 

I  did  not  know  what  to  do.  On  the  one  hand,  I 
thought  to  end  my  life  on  the  plains  as  a  shepherd, 
having  already  borrowed  sufficient  money  to  buy  a 
flock  of  fifty  sheep;  on  the  other,  a  great  storm  was 
ravaging  my  soul.    I  thought  of  the  injustice  that 

270       THE  MAD  MONK  OF  RUSSIA 

was  triumphing  over  truth ;  I  saw  plainly  the  deplor- 
able condition  of  the  Russian  peasant.  The  people 
were  coming  to  me  in  ever  greater  and  greater 
numbers,  begging  me  to  tell  them  what  was  necessary 
to  bring  about  a  change. 

Under  the  influence  of  the  past  and  the  pressure 
of  the  people,  I  decided  to  start  a  revolutionary  move- 
ment. As  I  was  always  surrounded  by  ten  secret 
police  agents  to  whom  I  had  to  report  every  morning 
and  evening,  I  decided  to  flee  through  the  same 
forests  on  the  Volga  through  which  the  great  revolu- 
tionists Stenka  Razin  and  Pugatcheff  had  escaped. 
I  made  my  way  out  during  the  night.  When  the 
police  came  to  see  me  in  the  morning,  I  was  not  there. 
My  friends  told  them  that  I  was  ill,  so  they  said: 
"We  shall  come  in  the  evening.  He  must  come  out 
of  the  house  then  so  that  we  can  see  his  face."  In  the 
evening  they  came,  and  one  of  my  followers  appeared 
before  them  in  disguise,  wrapped  up  like  a  sick  man. 
The  police,  thinking  it  was  I,  went  away. 

In  the  meantime  I  made  the  forest  my  head- 
quarters. Now,  my  guide  was  the  same  Sinitzin 
who  had  betrayed  me  in  my  attempt  to  escape  from 
the  hermitage,  for  I  did  not  yet  know  that  he  was  a 
traitor.  I  supplied  Sinitzin  with  funds  to  purchase 
120  bombs,  which  he  brought  to  me  in  the  forest.  It 
was  my  intention  to  start  a  revolution  on  October  6, 
1913.  I  planned  the  assassination  on  that  day  of 
sixty  lieutenant-governors  and  forty  bishops  through- 
out Russia,  those  who  had  used  their  greatest  in- 


fluence    over    the    czar    in    his    reactionary    policy. 

October  6  is  the  czar's  name-day  and  was  formerly 
celebrated  throughout  the  land,  all  the  governors  ap- 
pearing in  the  churches.  My  plan  was  to  have  them 
assassinated  as  they  came  out.  I  chose  one  hundred 
men  to  execute  this  plan.  Twenty  of  them  were 
despatched  to  Petrograd.  There,  in  the  famous 
Cathedral  of  St.  Isaac,  all  the  highest  members  of  the 
aristocracy  and  the  Holy  Synod  were  wont  to  as- 
semble for  prayer  on  the  czar's  name-day,  an  in- 
closure  being  chained  off  for  them.  These  twenty 
men  were  to  disguise  themselves  as  priests,  emerge 
from  the  altar,  surround  the  circle,  and  throw  the 
bombs.  I  thought  that  the  result  of  this  act  of 
terrorism  would  be  a  general  upheaval,  and  that 
afterward  a  revolution  would  break  out,  previous 
events  having  shown  that  acts  of  terrorism  had  always 
stirred  the  Russian  people.  If  I  had  succeeded,  I 
am  convinced  that  a  revolution  would  have  started. 

The  police  had  offered  a  very  large  reward  for 
any  one  who  would  produce  me,  dead  or  alive.  My 
hiding-place  was  known  only  to  two  persons,  Sinitzin 
and  my  wife,  for  I  had  been  married  shortly  before. 
I  had  full  confidence  only  in  my  wife,  and  I  there- 
fore advised  her  to  stay  in  Tsaritzin  and  watch  Sinit- 
zin. She  learned  there  that  Sinitzin,  having  read  the 
police  advertisement  offering  a  reward,  went  to  head- 
quarters and  asked  for  ten  thousand  rubles,  promis- 
ing that  he  would  show  them  my  hiding-place. 

My  wife  immediately  set  out  to  warn  me.     She 

274      THE  MAD  MONK  OF  RUSSIA 

reached  me  before  the  police.  We  threw  the  bombs 
into  the  Volga.  Scarcely  had  we  time  to  do  this 
and  my  wife  to  escape  into  the  forest,  when  the  police 
came  and  asked: 

"Where  are  the  bombs?" 

I  answered: 

"I  have  no  bombs.  Why  do  you  listen  to  an  old 

But  there  was  against  me  a  terribly  convincing 
piece  of  evidence.  When  Sinitzin  brought  the 
bombs,  I,  wishing  to  ascertain  whether  they  were 
genuine  or  not,  had  thrown  one  against  a  tree.  The 
bomb  was  so  powerful  that  the  whole  tree,  together 
with  the  roots,  was  torn  out.  Sinitzin  showed  this 
tree  to  the  police.  They  questioned  me,  but  I  said: 
"I  was  not  responsible  for  the  fall  of  this  tree.  It 
may  have  been  struck  by  lightning."  I  was  arrested, 
however,  and  taken  back  to  my  village  to  await  my 
sentence.  Thus  ended  my  attempt  to  start  a  revolu- 

In  the  meantime  Sinitzin  went  to  headquarters  for 
his  reward.     The  police  asked  him: 

"Who  was  it  that  took  Iliodor  to  that  house  in  the 

*T  did,"  he  replied. 

The  result  was  that  they  almost  beat  him  to  death 
and  threw  him  out,  not  giving  him  one  cent  of  the 
reward.  He  then  went  to  Petrograd,  saw  Rasputin, 
and  told  liim  all  about  my  intentions.    Rasputin  told 


the  czar  that  he  should  imprison  me  in  the  Fortress 
of  St.  Peter  and  St.  Paul. 

And  what  was  the  end  of  Sinitzin?  He  came  back 
to  Tsaritzin  and  died  a  terrible  death.  He  was  visit- 
ing some  friends  who  were  having  sturgeon  for 
supper;  and  he  died  from  ptomaine  poisoning.  The 
governor,  supposing  that  my  followers  had  made 
away  with  him,  ordered  an  autopsy.  The  examina- 
tion, which  took  place  at  Saratoff,  proved  that  he  had 
actually  died  of  ptomaine  poisoning. 

On  June  23  I  received  from  the  Novo  Tcherkask 
court  of  justice  a  lengthy  indictment  accusing  me 
of  sacrilege  and  lese-majesty  and  of  organizing  a 
criminal  society  for  terroristic  acts.  Immediately 
afterward  arrangements  were  made  to  take  me  to 
Petrograd  for  imprisonment  in  the  Fortress  of  St. 
Peter  and  St.  Paul.  As  soon  as  I  learned  this,  I 
determined  upon  two  things,  to  attempt  to  bring 
about  the  assassination  of  Rasputin  and  to  escape 

Before  starting  for  Petrograd,  I  was  taken  to  my 
house  in  order  to  show  the  police  authorities  what 
documents  I  had  hidden  there.  They  also  wished  to 
ascertain  from  mj^  neighbors  some  new  facts  concern- 
ing my  activities.  I  was  kept  here  for  some  time, 
cut  off  from  the  outside  world  and  surrounded  by 
police  and  Cossacks. 

Now,  in  this  house  there  was  an  underground  pas- 
sage that  I  had  had  dug,  leading  from  one  of  the 

276      THE  MAD  MONK  OF  RUSSIA 

rooms  out  into  the  forest,  and  through  it  I  was  able 
to  ccmmunicate  with  my  wife  and  my  friends. 
Among  those  who  came  to  me  was  a  young  girl  named 
Chionia  Guseva,  who  had  been  one  of  the  members 
of  my  revolutionary  organization.  She  was  a  clever, 
industrious,  devoted  girl,  well  read  in  the  Holy 
Scriptures.  In  the  course  of  a  conversation  about 
Rasputin  she  had  once  exclaimed  fervently:  "Dear 
Father,  what  a  devil  Grishka  is !  I  'd  like  to  stab 
him.  I  'd  like  to  slay  him  just  as  the  prophet  Elijah, 
at  God's  command,  slew  four  hundred  and  fifty  of  the 
false  prophets  of  Baal.  Rasputin  is  worse  than  they 
were.  Just  see  what  he  does,  Father!  Give  me 
your  blessing  to  get  even  with  him." 

In  order  to  test  the  firmness  of  her  resolve,  I  had 
expostulated  with  her. 

"Chionia,"  I  said,  "why  do  you  talk  in  this  way? 
You  know  it  is  a  sin  to  shed  human  blood." 

But  she  only  insisted  the  more  that  it  would  be 
no  sin  to  kill  Rasputin. 

"By  his  order,"  she  said,  "the  archbishops,  the  czar, 
and  the  czarina  are  trampling  upon  all  our  sacred 
shrines.  Like  murderers,  they  have  deprived  us  of 
our  last  spiritual  consolation,  they  have  destroyed  our 
monastery  and  exiled  our  shepherd.  Do  they  expect 
us,  after  all  that,  to  follow  their  teachings?  No; 
let  fools  obey  Rasputin,  but  we  know  better.  It  is 
no  sin  to  kill  him,  and  I  mean  to  do  it." 

I  must  add  that  Chionia  had  not  gained  her  im- 
pressions of  Rasputin  solely  through  conversations 








with  me.  She  had  formed  an  independent  judgment 
oF  his  baleful  activities  based  on  inforaiation  that  was 
known  to  all,  and  she  belonged  to  a  circle  of  women 
and  girls,  most  of  whom  had  been  wronged  by  the 
saint,  who  had  formed  with  my  consent  an  organiza- 
tion with  the  object  of  castrating  him.  Rasputin 
had  been  informed  of  the  plot,  and  it  came  to 
nothing.  But  the  resolute  Chionia  determined  to 
make  away  with  Gregory  even  if  she  had  to  act  all 
by  herself.  Her  resolve  had  been  strengthened  when 
the  Holy  Synod,  replying  to  my  specific  charges 
against  Rasputin,  declined  to  prosecute  him,  giving 
as  a  reason  that  his  crimes  would  have  to  be  tried 
by  a  lay  court  (as  if  the  czar  would  have  permitted 
this!)  ;  and  she  had  put  her  last  scruple  aside  when 
she  read  that  Rasputin,  informed  by  certain  news- 
paper men  that  I  was  going  to  write  a  book  about 
him,  had  replied: 

"Let  him  write,  if  he  feels  like  it ;  it 's  all  over  with 
him.     As  for  myself,  I  fear  nothing  and  nobody." 

So  now,  when  Chionia  came  to  me  to  ask  my  bless- 
ing, I  joined  my  will  with  hers.  A  few  hours  before, 
I  had  had  news  that  Rasputin,  on  the  very  day  of 
the  assassination  of  the  Archduke  Francis  Ferdinand, 
had  blessed  the  czar  and  predicted  a  victorious  war. 
I  said  to  Chionia: 

"You  must  follow  Rasputin,  no  matter  where  he 
may  go,  and  kill  him." 

"I  shall  be  happy,  Father,  to  do  everything  that 
you  wish  me  to  do,"  she  replied. 

280      THE  MAD  MONK  OF  RUSSIA 

Then  I  opened  her  shirt-waist  and  hung  around 
her  neck  a  Httle  chain  carrying  a  knife,  saying  as  I 
did  so,  "With  this  knife  kill  Grishka." 

Chionia  immediately  set  off  for  Jalta,  where  Ras- 
putin happened  to  be  at  the  time,  and  the  rest  of  her 
story  I  heard  only  after  I  had  left  Russia.  When 
she  reached  Jalta,  she  found  that  Gregory  had  gone 
to  Petrograd.  She  followed  him  there,  only  to  be 
told  that  he  had  changed  his  plans  and  gone  to  his 
birthplace  Poksrovskoye,  in  Siberia,  a  nine-days' 
journey  away.  This  was  not  true.  He  was  still  in 
Petrograd,  and  did  not  leave  for  another  ten  days. 
Chionia,  however,  went  to  Poksrovskoye  and,  not 
finding  him  there,  decided  to  wait  for  him.  At  about 
the  moment  of  her  arrival  Rasputin  actually  started 
on  the  journey,  which  was  in  some  sense  a  triumphal 
one  for  him ;  for  at  Perm  he  was  received  with  solemn 
ceremony  by  Bishop  Palladius  in  the  state  apartment 
of  the  railway  station. 

Just  as  Gregory  arrived  at  Poksrovskoye,  Chionia 
stepped  forward  and  stabbed  him.  She  was  arrested, 
and  Rasputin  was  taken  to  the  hospital.  All  sorts 
of  solicitous  messages  poured  in  upon  him,  many  of 
which  are  recorded  in  Lochtina's  diaries.  The  czar 
and  czarina  telegraphed,  "We  are  zealously  praying 
to  God  for  you.'*  Archbishop  Piterim,  whom  the  ' 
saint  had  made  Exarch  of  Georgia,  wired,  "May  your 
recovery  serve  as  a  spiritual  convalescence  for  those 
who  intend  to  spread  Christianity  with  fire  and 
sword."     Rasputin  himself  wired  from  the  hospital 


to  his  friends  in  Petrograd,  "A  carrion  stabbed  me 
with  a  knife,  but  with  God's  help  I  have  remained 

As  a  matter  of  fact,  the  wound  was  not  serious. 
On  August  20  he  left  the  hospital  and  returned  to 
Petrograd,  where,  according  to  information  imparted 
to  me  by  a  noted  Russian  author,  he  was  received  with 
great  pomp,  first,  as  "an  innocent  sufferer'*  and, 
secondly,  as  "a  prophet  whose  prophecies  come  true." 

For  the  attempt  at  murder,  I  may  add,  Chionia 
was  at  first  confined  in  a  sohtary  cell  in  the  Tumen 
prison  for  one  year.  She  was  refused  a  trial.  Ras- 
putin did  not  care  to  give  her  an  opportunity  to 
justify  herself.  Instead,  he  had  her  examined  by 
physicians,  who,  on  June  20,  1915,  pronounced  her 
insane  and  consigned  her  to  the  lunatic  asylum  at 
Tomsk.  When  the  revolution  broke  out,  I  wrote  at 
once  to  my  old  friend  Alexander  Prugavin,  the 
veteran  socialist  writer,  to  leave  no  stone  unturned 
in  his  efforts  to  have  the  poor  girl  released.  In  June, 
1917,  I  learned  that  Chionia  had  just  returned  to 
Tsaritzin,  where  all  the  people  hailed  her  as  a  martyr. 
She,  although  sane,  had  been  thrown  into  quarters 
where  only  those  who  were  violently  insane  were  con- 
fined, and  during  her  cross-examination  she  had  been 
hung  up  by  the  hair  on  an  iron  hook,  and  the  soles  of 
her  feet  had  been  beaten  with  stout  oak  rods.  She 
had,  however,  steadfastly  denied  that  I  had  had  any 
connection  with  her  attempt  to  kill  Rasputin. 

But  to  return  to  my  story.     Through  the  under- 

282      THE  MAD  MONK  OF  RUSSIA 

ground  passage  from  my  house  Chionia  had  gone 
forth  to  assassinate  the  saint.  Through  the  same 
passage  I  made  my  own  escape.  My  wife  had 
brought  me  all  the  necessary  accessories  for  disguis- 
ing myself  as  a  woman,  and  in  this  costume  I  dressed 
myself  and,  making  my  way  out  during  the  night, 
reached  a  carriage  that  was  waiting  for  me  in  the 
forest  and  took  me  to  the  steamboat  pier.  I  learned 
later  that  the  following  morning  the  police  called  at 
my  house  to  inform  me  that  henceforth  my  guard 
was  to  be  increased  and  that  I  was  to  be  deprived  of 
the  few  liberties  I  had  previously  enjoyed. 

While  the  authorities  were  sending  messages 
throughout  all  Russia  that  I  had  escaped,  I,  in  my 
woman's  disguise  and  accompanied  by  my  sister,  was 
sailing  on  the  quiet  waters  of  the  River  Don,  headed 
for  Rostoff.  The  steamer  was  overcrowded,  and  I 
was  unable  to  get  either  a  first-  or  a  second-class 
ticket,  but  I  succeeded  in  securing  a  small  space  in  the 
women's  cabin.  The  captain  protested  that  there 
was  no  room,  but  I  insisted  in  a  high  falsetto  voice 
that  I  was  a  sick  woman  and  entitled  to  at  least  more 
or  less  comfortable  quarters.  My  sister  remon- 
strated with  him  very  energetically,  begging  him  to 
have  a  little  consideration  for  her  old,  sick  mother. 
All  the  women  were  conducting  themselves  with  the 
accustomed  freedom  of  the  women's  quarters,  and  I 
was  in  great  terror  lest  my  disguise  should  be  discov- 
ered. However,  all  went  well,  and  I  reached  my 
destination  in  safety.     My  friends  at  Rostoff  con- 


sisted  for  the  most  part  of  men  of  letters  and  news- 
paper men,  who  took  a  deep  interest  in  my  new  faith 
and  supplied  me  with  comfortable  quarters,  an  outfit 
of  new  clothes,  and  everything  that  was  necessary  for 
my  long  and  adventurous  journey. 

From  Rostoff  I  proceeded  to  Petrograd,  where  I 
immediately  called  upon  my  good  friend,  Alexander 
Prugavin.  Realizing  that  my  presence  in  Petrograd 
would  be  dangerous,  he  immediately  went  with  me 
to  Finland,  and  handed  me  over  to  the  well-known 
Maxim  Gorky.  I  must  say  that  Gorky  took  a  warm, 
brotherly  interest  in  me.  We  had  a  conversation  that 
lasted  until  daybreak.  He  suggested  that  I  should 
go  at  once  to  Genoa,  promising  that  he  would  ask 
his  lawyer  in  Paris  to  meet  me  in  Genoa,  and  also 
that  he  would  communicate  with  his  editor  in  Berlin, 
so  that  the  latter  could  start  negotiations  with  me 
for  my  intended  denunciation  of  the  life  of  Rasputin 
and  the  Russian  court.  This  was  in  July,  1914; 
about  a  month  prior  to  the.  outbreak  of  the  European 
War.  When  he  found  that  my  entire  wealth  con- 
sisted of  the  paltry  sum  of  fifty-six  rubles,  Gorky 
provided  me  with  the  necessary  funds  for  my  journey, 
and  also  reiterated  that,  should  I  find  myself  in  a 
financial  predicament  abroad,  I  should  not  fail  to 
command  him.  Besides,  he  supplied  me  with  a  man 
to  act  as  my  guide  through  Finland  and  to  help  me  in 
crossing  the  Swedish  border. 

On  July  19  we  crossed  the  frontier  on  foot,  walking 
over  the  old  bed  of  the  River  Tornea,  near  the  city 

284       THE  MAD  MONK  OF  RUSSIA 

of  Tornea,  four  kilometers  above  the  custom-house 
and  vh'tually  in  sight  of  the  border  patrol.  The 
crossing  was  extremely  painful  from  the  fact  that  the 
bottom  of  the  river  was  covered  with  sharp  little 
stones.  My  guide,  like  an  antelope,  jumped  from 
one  stone  to  another,  and  I  tried  to  follow  his  lead. 
It  certainly  would  have  been  a  comical  sight  to  an 
onlooker,  inasmuch  as  we  had  taken  a  few  glasses 
of  cognac  to  stimulate  our  courage.  Stepping  from 
stone  to  stone,  I  lost  one  of  my  overshoes.  Then  I 
took  off  the  other,  and  hurled  it  toward  the  Russian 
bank,  exclaiming,  "I  shake  off  the  dust  of  my  feet 
and  the  dust  of  the  country  where  I  was  tortured  and 
mocked."  Having  safely  crossed  to  the  Swedish 
side,  I  addressed  Russia  as  follows:  "Farewell, 
dear  fatherland!  Farewell,  God-accursed  country! 
Farewell,  great,  long-sufFering,  good-natured  people 
pining  away  under  the  yoke  of  tyrants  and  scoundrel 
priests.  A  grave  trial  awaits  thee,  but  lose  not 
courage.  Thy  blood  will  be  the  sacrifice  of  Provi- 
dence directing  everything  to  one  end — that  thou 
overthrowest  from  thy  shoulders  the  fetters  and 
chains  of  thy  cruel  enslavers  and  tormenters!" 

Unhappily,  having  gained  the  shore,  I  found  that 
my  shoes  had  been  badly  cut  by  the  sharp  stones. 
This  was  the  cause  of  much  unpleasantness  on  my  ar- 
rival upon  Swedish  soil.  At  the  little  hotel  in  the 
town  called  Karungi  the  waitresses  were  much  per- 
plexed by  the  incongruity  in  my  appearance,  for  while 


my  shoes  were  in  tatters,  I  was  wearing  a  handsome 
diamond  ring  that  a  friend  had  given  me  as  a  talis- 

At  Karungi  my  guide  left  me,  and  I  then  began 
to  realize  how  precarious  my  position  was.  I  knew 
neither  the  language  nor  the  customs  of  the  country ; 
but  my  spirits  were  high,  for  I  knew  that  I  was  now 
beyond  the  reach  of  the  tyranny  of  the  Romanoffs 
and  their  upholders.  At  the  station  in  Karungi  I 
had  great  difficulty  in  explaining  to  the  officials  that 
I  was  bound  for  England  and  that  I  wanted  to  know 
the  cheapest  and  quickest  way.  I  understood  from 
them  that  the  shortest  route  was  via  Trontheim. 
Just  at  that  momen*-  England's  part  in  the  war  was 
uncertain,  and  the  Swedish  Government  was  of  the 
opinion  that  England  would  remain  neutral.  I 
learned  this  later,  and  I  learned  also  from  unim- 
peachable sources  that  it  was  the  intention  of  the 
Swedish  Government  to  join  Germany  in  her  attack 
upon  Russia;  for  this  purpose  she  was  shifting  her 
troops  toward  the  Finnish  borders.  I  myself  saw 
a  countless  number  of  military  railwaj'^-cars,  filled 
with  soldiers,  guns,  ammunition,  and  horses,  traveling 
in  that  direction.  The  Swedish  authorities  took  me 
for  a  spy,  and  on  my  way  to  Trontheim  I  was  arrested 
and  subsequently  discharged  six  times.  I  learned 
afterward  that  on  every  occasion  the  Swedish  press 
announced  the  capture  of  an  important  spy,  and  a 
day  later  withdrew  the  charge.     In  Austrozondt  I 

286      THE  MAD  MONK  OF  RUSSIA 

was  placed  in  a  prison  occupied  by  police  dogs,  and 
it  was  only  after  many  similar  occurrences  that  I  at 
last  safely  reached  Trontheim. 

From  the  station  I  took  the  first  automobile  bear- 
ing the  inscription  of  a  hotel,  only  to  discover  that  it 
belonged  to  the  most  exclusive  and  aristocratic  house 
in  the  town,  the  Britannia.  I  realized  that  my  attire 
was  not  in  harmony  with  such  an  establishment,  but 
I  thought  I  would  take  my  chances.  As  I  arrived, 
the  porter,  in  his  gold-embroidered  uniform,  was 
writing  something  on  a  blackboard.  All  that  I  knew 
of  the  Norwegian  language  was  the  word  "verelse," 
meaning  "room,"  so  I  immediately  used  my  extensive 
knowledge  by  looking  the  porter  straight  in  the  face 
and  shouting  "verelse,  verelse." 

Without  saying  a  word,  but  scrutinizing  my  worn 
shoes  very  sharply,  he  called  a  bell-boy  and  pointed 
upward.  The  boy  seized  me  by  the  arm  and  put  me 
on  the  elevator,  and  up  we  went,  higher  and  higher, 
until  I  thought  my  head  would  eventually  strike 
heaven.  The  room  was  of  a  match-box  size,  and  when 
I  closed  the  door  I  sat  on  the  bed  and  simply  medi- 
tated on  the  condition  of  my  shoes.  Then  a  storm 
began  to  ravage  my  soul.  I  said  to  myself:  here  I 
have  come  abroad  to  reveal  to  the  world  the  tyranny 
of  the  Romanoffs,  and  the  people  pay  more  attention 
to  my  worn  shoes  than  to  anything  else.  Upon  this 
little  incident  I  immediately  founded  my  conception 
of  the  life  and  spirit  of  foreigners,  whom  I  had  never 
met  before.    My  thoughts  led  me  to  a  rather  nega- 


He  had  been  accused  of  attempting  to  curry  favor  with  the  people  by  cultivating 

a  physical  resemblance  to  Christ.     He  had  this  picture  taken  in  order  to 

show,  by  contrast,  how  preposterous  the  accusation  was 


tive  conclusion,  but  I  decided  just  the  same  to  pur- 
chase a  new  pair  of  shoes  at  the  earhest  opportunity. 

Upon  investigation,  I  found  that  the  steamers 
were  not  running  between  Trontheim  and  Enghsh 
ports,  so  I  decided  to  proceed  to  Christiania,  which 
accordingly,  from  August  5,  1914,  became  my  head- 
quarters for  nearly  two  years.  Meanwhile  my 
money  had  dwindled  so  that  on  my  arrival  in 
Christiania  I  had  in  my  pocket  only  eight  Norwegian 
kroner  (about  two  dollars)  and  a  hundred  rubles  in 
paper  money.  Owing  to  the  panic  of  the  war,  no  one 
would  change  Russian  paper  money,  and  for  three 
days  I  was  virtually  starving.  I  went  to  the  baker 
and  offered  my  hundred  rubles  for  a  piece  of  bread, 
but  my  petition  was  refused,  and  I  did  not  call  upon 
the  police  authorities  because  I  had  been  told  that 
the  laws  in  Christiania  in  regard  to  stranded  strangers 
were  very  severe,  and  that  in  virtually  all  cases  the 
refugee  was  sent  back  to  his  own  country.  On  the 
fourth  day  of  misery,  I  passed  the  Russian  consulate, 
and  the  instinct  of  self-preservation  spoke  so  loudly 
that  I  was  almost  at  the  point  of  seeing  the  consul 
and  appealing  to  his  humanity.  My  desperate  situa- 
tion must  have  been  very  apparent  from  my  counte- 
nance, for  I  was  accosted  by  a  man  who  proved  to  be 
a  Jew  from  Munich  and  who  asked  me  what  was  the 
matter.  I  explained  my  situation  to  him,  and  he 
proved  to  be  the  good  Samaritan,  for  he  changed 
twenty-five  rubles  out  of  my  hundred  into  kroner. 

Some  days  later  I  learned  from  Russian  news- 

290      THE  MAD  MONK  OF  RUSSIA 

papers  sold  in  Christiania  that  the  pohce  at  home  were 
virtually  standing  on  their  heads  in  their  efforts  to 
locate  me.  They  arrested  my  wife,  and  tried  by  all 
ways  and  means  to  find  out  from  her  where  I  was. 
She  was  at  that  time  in  Tsaritzin,  having  given  birth 
to  a  boy.  Although  she  was  still  in  bed,  she  was 
taken  from  the  hospital  and  brought  to  police  head- 
quarters and  cross-examined.  This  went  on  from 
day  to  day,  until  finally  she  fled  one  night  over  the 
steppes  to  the  Don,  where  she  found  a  harbor  among 
the  shepherds.  Three  months  later  she  joined  me  in 




Quietly  and  peacefully,  far  from  the  scenes  of 
turmoil,  my  days  passed  in  Christiania.  After  the 
crushing  blow  dealt  me  by  Rasputin  and  the  czar,  I 
felt  grateful  to  Providence  for  having  given  me  this 
peaceful  harbor. 

The  first  days  I  spent  in  correspondence  with  my 
spiritual  children  whom  I  had  left  behind  me  in 
Tsaritzin.  Knowing  that  all  my  letters  to  Russia 
would  be  opened  by  the  censor,  I  decided  to  smuggle 
them  through.  This  I  did  in  the  following  manner. 
I  took  heavy  cardboard  and  between  two  pieces  I 
would  put  my  letter.  Then  I  would  take  a  book, 
and  have  the  whole  thing  bound  together.  As  I  sent 
from  Norway  only  the  most  harmless  children's 
stories,  I  thus  succeeded  in  writing  to  Russia  on  the 
most  delicate  matters.  In  order  to  acquaint  my 
people  with  the  real  contents  of  these  "books,"  I  tele- 
graphed them: 

"In  case  of  death,  I  leave  you  my  four  houses  in 
Tsaritzin;  but  have  the  four  corners  of  these  houses 

They  did  not  understand  at  first,  and  asked: 

"What  kind  of  houses?" 


294       THE  MAD  MONK  OF  RUSSIA 

"You  already  have  these  four  houses.  Repair  the 
corners,  and  they  will  be  all  right,"  I  replied. 

The  books  were  so  made  that  by  cutting  through  the 
corners  the  contents  would  be  disclosed.  In  this  way 
I  sent  at  least  120  books;  but  a  Jew  who  was  my 
interpreter  with  the  bookbinder  went  to  the  Russian 
consul  and  denounced  me.  In  consequence  of  this 
the  Russian  authorities  confiscated  all  books  which 
were  sent  from  Norway  into  Russia.  After  that  I 
was  no  longer  able  to  communicate  directly  with  my 
spiritual  children. 

At  the  end  of  1914,  Vladimir  BurtzeflP,  the  famous 
writer  and  revolutionist,  came  to  Norway  from 
England.  He  called  upon  me  and  begged  me  to 
write  my  revelations  in  denunciation  of  Rasputin  and 
the  Russian  court  as  soon  as  possible.  So  I  began 
to  write  the  book.  On  INIarch  15  I  completed  it.  I 
communicated  with  my  friend  PiTigavin,  asking  if 
he  could  not  find  some  one  in  Russia  who  would  take 
up  its  publication.  He  asked  me  to  send  him  one 
copy  of  my  manuscript.  For  this  purpose  I  suc- 
ceeded in  communicating  with  some  of  my  faithful 
followers  in  Tsaritzin,  and  they  procured  some  paper 
like  the  lining  of  my  trunk.  I  spread  the  pages  of 
my  manuscript  all  over  the  bottom  of  the  trunk, 
pasted  the  new  paper  over  them,  and  sent  it  off.  On 
the  Finnish  border  the  trunk  underwent  a  very  severe 
search,  but,  fortunately,  the  secrets  it  contained  were 
not  discovered.  A  few  days  later  I  received  a  tele- 
gram from  Prugavin,  "Mother  dear  has  safely  ar- 

MY  LIFE  IN  CHRISTIANIA         295 

rived."  Owing  to  this,  my  book  containing  the  reve- 
lations of  Rasputin  saw  the  light  during  the  first  days 
of  the  Russian  revolution. 

I  also  cherished  the  hope  that  I  should  be  able  to 
publish  my  revelations  abroad.  With  this  object  in 
view,  I  wrote  to  Prince  Kropotkin  in  England,  to  the 
famous  writer  and  journalist  Alexander  Amfiteatrov 
in  Rome,  and  to  the  "Social  Democrat"  of  Switzer- 
land. The  last  made  no  reply,  Kropotkin  answered, 
through  his  friend  Mr.  TeplofiP,  negatively;  Am- 
fiteatrov answered:  "Come  to  Rome.  I  shall  be  de- 
lighted to  talk  with  you  about  the  matter."  Then 
I  endeavored  to  send  sheets  of  my  manuscript  to  the 
Russian  prisoners  in  Austria  and  Germany.  I  at- 
tached great  importance  to  my  manuscript,  thinking 
that  it  might  bring  about  the  downfall  of  the  Roman- 
offs. To  have  it  published  in  Russia  was  out  of  the 
question  just  then,  and  I  failed  in  my  efforts  to  reach 
the  Russian  prisoners  in  Austria  and  Germany.  I 
was  told  that  it  was  impossible  to  have  the  book  pub- 
lished in  those  countries  because  of  their  imperialistic 

The  end  of  the  year  1915  was  approaching.  I  was 
depressed  and  homesick  through  inactivity.  My 
hope  for  my  life  after  the  war  was  to  till  the  soil  and 
earn  my  bread  with  my  own  hands.  With  this  end  in 
view  I  decided  to  enter  a  factory  in  Christiania  in 
order  to  test  my  physical  endurance.  I  cast  my 
manuscript  into  the  waste-basket  of  forgetfulness, 
went  to  the  Norsk  Motor  Dinamo  Fabrik  and  offered 

296      THE  MAD  MONK  OF  RUSSIA 

my  services  as  an  unskilled  laborer.  The  chief 
engineer  asked  me  whether  I  had  had  experience  with 
any  special  class  of  work.  I  told  him  I  could  do  only 
such  work  as  in  Russia  we  call  "Take,  lift,  and  put  it 
away."  They  sent  me  to  a  foreman  with  instruc- 
tions for  him  to  employ  me  in  any  capacitj'-.  For 
thirty-eight  ore  (the  equivalent  of  eleven  cents)  I 
had  to  sweep  the  floor  and  do  all  kinds  of  cleaning. 
I  tried  to  perform  my  work  faithfully,  and  the  second 
day  my  wages  were  increased,  and  a  German  foreman 
engaged  me  to  grind  screw-points  on  a  machine.  I 
was  delighted.  The  atmosphere  of  hard  work  in  the 
factory  and  the  noise  of  the  machinery  tended  to  up- 
lift my  spirit.  For  my  good  conduct,  sobriety,  and 
satisfactory  work  I  was  made  second  assistant  to  the 
chief  painter  of  the  shop.  It  is  needless  to  say  that 
no  one  knew  my  real  name  or  who  I  was.  I  was 
known  by  the  name  of  Perfilieff. 

I  believe  that  I  might  have  remained  for  some 
time  at  this  factory,  but  the  Russian  Government  sud- 
denly decided  that  they  could  use  me  in  a  way  to 
serve  their  interests.  At  that  time  Rasputin  was 
supreme  in  Russia.  At  the  beginning  of  1916  he  was 
already  working  on  a  scheme  to  conclude  a  separate 
peace  with  Germany.  Now,  at  the  head  of  the 
ministry  of  the  interior  was  my  good  friend  Alexis 
Nicholaievich  Chvostzoff.  In  1911  he  had  been 
lieutenant-governor  of  the  province  of  Novrogod,  and 
in  that  year,  during  the  pilgrimage  that  I  undertook 
with  my  people  on  the  Volga,  he  had  received  me 


in  the  most  friendly  manner  and  given  a  dinner  to 
three  thousand  of  my  followers.  When  he  learned 
that  Rasputin  was  using  his  power  to  bring  about  a 
separate  peace,  he  sent  for  one  of  his  assistants,  Boris 
Rjevsky  by  name,  and  said  to  him:  "We  cannot  af- 
ford any  longer  to  have  Rasputin  guiding  the 
destinies  of  Russia.  Try  to  kill  him,  but  in  such  a 
way  that  no  trace  is  left."  Rjevsky  thought  and 
thought  over  the  mission  which  he  had  to  fulfil. 
Finally  he  called  again  on  his  chief  and  said,  "The 
only  man  in  Russia  who  could  find  faithful  people 
to  kill  Rasputin  is  Iliodor."  Chvostzoff  then  gave 
Rjevsky  five  thousand  rubles  for  his  trip  to  Norway 
in  order  to  organize  the  plot,  and  urged  him  to  bring 
it  to  a  successful  conclusion  even  if  it  it  cost  a  million. 

On  January  25,  1916,  Rjevsky  arrived  in 
Christiania  and  immediately  called  upon  me.  I  re- 
membered having  seen  him  once  before  in  Russia. 
When  I  was  in  prison  the  lieutenant-governor  had 
sent  him  to  me  to  find  out  what  were  the  causes  of  my 
quarrel  with  the  czar.  He  was  permitted  to  see  me 
in  prison  in  the  disguise  of  a  pilgrim.  He  came  to 
me  wearing  a  long  gray  beard  and  carrying  a  knap- 
sack on  his  back.  Nevertheless,  when  he  called  upon 
me  in  Christiania  I  recognized  him  at  once.  It  was 
eight  o'clock  in  the  evening  when  he  arrived,  and  he 
told  me  that  he  was  stopping  at  the  Hotel  Scan- 
dinavia under  the  assumed  name  of  Artemieff . 

Just  before  this  I  had  been  advised  by  my  friend 
Prugavin  that  a  countryman  of  ours  was  about  to 

298      THE  MAD  MONK  OF  RUSSIA 

arrive  in  Christiania  to  discuss  with  me  the  publica- 
tion of  my  manuscript.  From  my  conversation  with 
Rjevsky  I  at  once  came  to  the  conclusion  that  he 
was  not  the  countryman  of  whose  arrival  I  had  been 
advised.  Rjevsky,  however,  informed  me  that  he 
had  come  on  a  very  important  mission. 

"I  have  come.  Father  Iliodor,  from  Alexis  Nicho- 
laievich  Chvostzoff,"  he  said,  "to  ask  you  a  favor." 

"That  is  funny,"  I  replied.  "What  have  I  in 
common  with  the  minister  of  the  interior?" 

"He  is  well  disposed  toward  you,  and  I  think  you 
believe  him  to  be  a  good  man.  He  is  so  energetic ;  he 
went  to  Moscow  and  immediately  established  order 
in  the  railroad  system." 

"Yes,  that  may  be  so.  But  remember  he  is  a  Rus- 
sian minister  and  I  am  a  Russian  political  refugee. 
You  see,  we  are  quantities  that  do  not  harmonize  and 
cannot  coalesce." 

At  this  point  my  wife  joined  in  our  conversation. 
She  asked  Rjevsky  to  leave  the  house,  and  at  the  same 
time  begged  me  not  to  have  anything  to  do  with 
emissaries  from  the  mmister  of  the  interior. 
Rjevsky  emphatically  declared  that  he  had  not 
called  upon  me  with  any  evil  purpose  in  mind  and 
begged  me  to  give  him  an  opportunity  to  finish  his 
story.     We  continued  our  conversation. 

"Have  you  a  passport?"  I  asked. 

"Yes,  here  it  is,  with  my  portrait."  Rjevsky 
was  dressed  like  a  genuine  dandy,  after  the  latest 
fashion.     He  wore  an  expensive  fur  coat,  cut  in  a 


very  peculiar  style.  His  cutaway  was  of  the  finest 
material.  His  necktie  was  adorned  with  a  large 
diamond  pin,  and  his  fingers  were  covered  with  rings. 
In  his  nervousness  he  kept  pulling  from  his  pocket  a 
gold  cigarette  case  studded  with  diamonds.  I 
thought  he  must  be  passing  through  a  rather  prosper- 
ous period  of  his  life.     I  said: 

"The  Government  is  very  strict  in  issuing  foreign 
passports.  It  is  necessary  that  this  passport  should 
be  accompanied  with  the  photograph  of  the  bearer." 
In  the  passport  I  read  the  following,  "Boris  Michael 
Rjevsky,  permanently  discharged  from  military  serv- 
ice, is  commissioned  to  England  for  the  Red  Cross." 

Rjevsky  calmed  me. 

"You  see,  I  purposely  asked  for  such  a  passport  in 
order  to  divert  suspicion  as  to  the  real  object  of  my 
trip  abroad.  My  colleagues  were  very  curious  to 
know  all  about  my  trip.  They  asked  me,  'Are  you 
not  going  to  England  in  connection  with  the  affair 
of  the  foreign  political  emigrants?'  I  quieted  them 
by  using  the  Red  Cross  as  a  shield." 

"Well,  what  are  you  doing,  anyhow?"  T  asked. 
"What  is  your  position?" 

"Let  me  tell  you.  I  am  the  right  hand  of 
Chvostzoff  the  minister  of  the  interior." 

"Have  you  any  letters  of  identification  to  that  ef- 

"Yes,  I  have,  and  I  will  show  them  to  you,"  he 

He  took  out  of  his  pocket  a  sheet  of  paper  folded 

300      THE  MAD  MONK  OF  RUSSIA 

into  a  square,  and  handed  it  to  me.  I  read,  "The 
representative  of  the  Red  Cross,  Boris  M.  Rjevsky, 
is  placed  at  the  disposal  of  the  minister  of  the  in- 
terior." I  came  to  the  conclusion  that  I  had  to  do 
with  no  one  else  than  a  Russian  government  detec- 

"My  God,"  I  said,  "what  do  you  need  me  for?" 

"Oh,  you  can  accomplish  a  great  deed." 

"Don't  be  foolish!  What  great  deed  can  be  ac- 
complished by  a  humble  man  working  in  a  factory?" 

"Oh,  if  you  only  knew  of  the  deed!  We  will  both 
be  spoken  of  in  history.  You  are  a  historical  per- 
sonage. As  for  myself.  Providence  has  only  now 
given  me  my  first  chance." 

"It  is  very  easy  to  be  mentioned  in  history. 
There  is  not  much  glory  in  that." 

"What  do  you  mean?  Do  you  mean  to  say  that 
it   is   a   trifle   to   become    a   historical   personage?" 

Rjevsky's  face  was  shining,  and  his  eyes  were 
burning  with  a  sincere  joy.  He  opened  his  mouth 
wide,  and  as  several  of  his  teeth  were  lacking,  the  ex- 
pression of  his  face  was  rather  tragic-comic. 

"With  what  do  you  wish  to  glorify  yourself? 
What  do  you  want  me  to  do?"  I  asked. 

"Father,  I  have  come  to  ask  you  in  the  name  of 
Chvostzoff  to  kill  Grishka." 

"What  Grishka?" 

"Rasputin!     Rasputin!" 

"What  is  the  matter  with  you?  Are  you  crazy? 
How  can  I  do  that?" 

MY  LIFE  IN  CHRISTIANIA         301 

"I  don't  mean  that  you  have  to  do  it  with  your 
own  hands,  but  with  the  hands  of  your  faithful  fol- 

"But  that  is  a  crime.  It  is  contrary  to  my  religious 
convictions.  And,  besides,  where  are  my  followers? 
They  are  far  from  me.  I  am  separated  from  them 
by  two  thousand  miles.  Furthermore,  I  cannot 
make  assassins  of  them." 

Rjevsky  was  beginning  to  get  very  excited  and 
was  losing  his  head.  I  could  see  that  he  was  plead- 
ing in  the  name  of  Chvostzoff  and  that  he  was  abso- 
lutely sincere.     He  continued: 

"I  know  you  have  the  people  who  would  do  it,  and 
you  can  get  in  touch  with  them.  No  one  but  you  can 
find  faithful  men.  Take,  for  example,  the  girl 

I  jumped  from  my  chair  and  shouted: 

"Not  a  word  about  Guseva!" 

Rjevsky  in  a  trembling,  supplicating  voice  said: 

"Father!     Father!" 

"I  am  not  a  father  to  you." 

"I  beg  your  pardon.  I  was  thinking  of  old  days. 
Don't  be  angiy!  Listen.  Give  me  a  chance  to  tell 
you  everything.  All  I  meant  about  Guseva  is  that 
she  was  one  of  your  followers  and  that  she  acted  well. 
In  stabbing  Rasputin  she  wounded  him  seriously; 
but,  unfortunately,  the  scoundrel  survived." 

"You  see  what  a  constitution  that  devil  has!  But 
let  him  live.  He  no  longer  concerns  me,  and  I  am 
trying  to  forget  him." 

302       THE  MAD  MONK  OF  RUSSIA 

"But  would  you  not  like  to  come  back  to  Russia?" 

"Yes,  very  much." 

"You  can  not  go  back  as  long  as  Rasputin  lives. 
As  long  as  he  is  living  you  can  never  see  Russia — 

"I  know  that  perfectly  well,  but  I  expect  to  go 
back  to  Russia  not  through  the  body  of  Rasputin, 
but  through  the  pardon  which  will  be  granted  to  me 
sooner  or  later.  I  do  not  believe  that  the  blood  of  a 
million  of  my  brothers  would  enable  me  and  other 
martyrs  to  return  to  Russia." 

"Yes,  you  will  be  pardoned;  but  Rasputin  has  to 
be  killed  just  the  same.     That  is  your  mission." 

"I  really  think  it  is  very  strange  that  you  should 
come  all  this  distance  to  ask  me  to  accomplish  such  a 
mission.  Do  you  mean  to  say  that  Chvostzoff  has 
no  faithful  people  at  home?  Do  you  mean  to  say 
that  he  has  not  plenty  of  detectives  ?" 

"Father,  they  are  all  Judases  and  cannot  be 
trusted.  I  spent  hours  and  hours  discussing  this 
business  with  ChvostzofiP,  and  we  came  to  the  final 
conclusion  that  we  have  no  one  except  you.  You 
alone  have  faithful,  devoted  servants  who  in  your 
name  would  go  where  the  sun  never  sets  and  never 

"That  is  true,  but  I  do  not  feel  within  me  the  right 
to  send  them  where  the  sun  never  sets  and  never 
rises.  That  is  where  you  are  mistaken.  You  are 
wrong  in  looking  upon  me  as  an  agent  to  provide 
assassins  for  men  whom  you  wish  to  get  rid  of.     I 


repeat  again  that  these  men  are  far  from  me  now." 

"Please  do  not  worry  about  that.  Everything  can 
be  arranged  to  have  them  near  you,  and  that  is  a  part 
of  the  mission  intrusted  to  me  by  Chvostzoff.  I  can 
issue  false  passports  to  your  followers  and  they  can 
come  to  you  and  you  can  tell  them  what  to  do." 

"I  cannot  consent  to  this.  Besides,  it  is  not  in  my 
interests  to  see  Rasputin  dead.  I  have  written  a 
book  about  him  and  I  want  to  see  it  read  while  he  is 
ahve.  I  expect  to  have  this  book  published  in 

"I  have  heard  of  it.  We  know  that  the  manuscript 
is  in  possession  of  some  one  in  Petrograd.  You 
know  the  correspondent  of  a  certain  newspaper  in 
Russia  has  boasted  that  he  had  the  manuscript  in 
his  possession.  The  next  day  we  made  a  search  of 
his  apartment,  but  the  manuscript  could  not  be 

"The  manuscript  is  in  Petrograd,  but  I  do  not 
think  you  will  ever  find  it.  The  time  will  come  when 
it  will  be  read  by  eveiy  Russian.  Now  will  you 
please  answer  this  question.  Why  do  you  want  to 
kill  Rasputin?" 

"My  God !  he  is  ruining  Russia.  He  has  sold  him- 
self to  the  Jewish  bankers,  and  for  bribes  gives  them 
large  military  orders.  He  interferes  with  Chvostz- 
off, who  is  trying  to  fight  the  German  party.  No 
minister  can  exist  if  he  does  not  want  him.  He 
throws  him  out  of  office  and  puts  his  own  men  in. 
In  all  institutions,  governmental  and  religious,  he  dis- 

304      THE  MAD  MONK  OF  RUSSIA 

poses  of  men  like  pawns  on  a  chessboard.  Recently 
he  appointed  Piterim  as  metropolitan,  a  man  without 
any  intelligence  and  of  the  most  immoral  record.  A 
few  days  ago  he  dismissed  the  high  procurator  of  the 
Holy  Synod,  Samarin,  because  the  latter  tried  to 
paralyze  Rasputin's  efforts  to  mix  in  the  religious 
affairs  of  the  country.  Just  before  my  departure 
abroad  he  insisted  upon  Chvostzoff  placing  one  of  his 
sweethearts  in  the  military  censorship.  And  have 
you  heard  nothing  about  General  Djunkovsky  and 
Count  Orloff  ?" 

"No,  nothing." 

"Well,  that  is  a  very  interesting  affair.  You  see 
Djunkovsky,  being  assistant  to  the  minister  of  the 
interior,  gathered  compromising  data  on  the  conduct 
of  Rasputin  and  asked  Count  Fredericks,  minister 
of  the  imperial  household,  to  transmit  this  material 
to  the  czar.  Count  Fredericks,  who  is  a  friend  of 
Rasputin,  refused  to  do  so.  Then  Djunkovsky  went 
to  see  Count  Orloff,  who  was  considered  the  closest 
friend  of  the  czar.  Count  Orloff  consented,  gave  the 
czar  the  accusations,  and  the  result  was  that  both  he 
and  Djunkovsky  were  sent  to  the  winds." 

"Drown  Rasputin,  so  that  not  even  the  bubbles 
appear.  That  is  absolutely  imperative.  You  would 
not  believe  it,  but  Grishka  is  drinking  heavily  now. 
He  gathers  together  a  chorus  of  Gipsies  and  gives 
them  big  sums  of  money,  and  once,  when  they  were 
all  intoxicated,  he  said  to  them :     'Look     See  this  silk 





Presented  to  Iliodor  by  Rasputin  at  Pokrovskoye 

MY  LIFE  IN  CHRISTIANIA         307 

sliirt?  It  was  made  for  me  by  Saschka.'  That  is 
his  irreverent  name  for  the  czarina." 

"Yes,  all  that  I  know.  And  it  will  all  be  known 
to  the  world  sooner  or  later.  Then  let  the  living  Ras- 
putin bear  the  shame." 

Rjevsky  jumped  from  the  chair,  grasped  my  hand, 
and  said:     "Have  you  no  pity  for  Russia?" 

"Rasputin  is  ruining  the  Romanoff  dynasty,  and  its 
ruin  means  the  salvation  of  Russia." 

"No,  Rasputin  is  ruining  Russia." 


"He  and  the  czarina  are  the  brains  of  a  power- 
ful court  gang  who  are  constantly  trying  to  prevail 
upon  the  czar  to  desert  the  Allies  and  to  sign  a 
separate  peace  with  Germany." 

"Is  that  true?     How  do  you  know  it?" 

"Chvostzoff  and  all  his  court  friends  know  about 

"If  that  is  the  case,  I  am  willing  to  have  Rasputin 

Rjevsky  fell  on  his  knees  and,  lifting  his  hands 
toward  heaven,  shouted  with  a  loud  voice:  "Father, 
accomplish  this  historic  deed!  Here  in  Christiania, 
in  your  humble  abode,  the  fate  of  Russia  is  decided." 

"Why  did  not  Chvostzoff  send  me  a  letter  in  his 
own  handwriting?" 

Rjevsky  answered  that  this  was  impossible. 

"The  friends  of  Grishka  are  listening  to  every  word 
and  are  following  every  step  of  Chvostzoff,"  he  said. 

308      THE  MAD  MONK  OF  RUSSIA 

"and  I  had  the  hardest  time  to  slip  away  from  Petro- 
grad  without  being  observed  by  them." 

"Very  well;  I  will  furnish  you  with  men." 

The  joy  of  Rjevsky  knew  no  bounds.  He  clapped 
his  hands  and  exclaimed: 

"The  Lord  be  praised!  I  can  bring  Chvostzoff 
good  news.  My  trip  has  not  been  in  vain.  We  shall 
get  rid  of  Grishka,  we  shall  save  Russia  and  history 
will  not  forget  us.  Now  let  us  go  into  the  details 
of  the  affair." 

"Did  you  come  here  alone?" 

"No;  my  wife  is  with  me." 

"Why  have  you  brought  j^pur  wife  on  such  a 
dangerous  mission?" 

"Don't  be  afraid.  My  wife  is  as  silent  as  the 
grave.     What  she  hears  no  one  will  ever  know." 

"I  am  very  happy  that  you  have  such  a  good  wife, 
but  it  would  have  been  much  wiser  if  you  had  come 

Rjevsky  informed  me  that  his  wife's  maiden  name 
was  Maria  Zazulina,  and  I  remember  he  said  that 
she  had  wonderful  diamonds  and  that  these  jewels 
shielded  her  from  any  suspicion  of  being  connected 
with  a  special  mission. 

"In  order  to  accomplish  our  scheme  we  need 
money,"  said  I. 

"Money  matters  need  not  disturb  you.  Chvostzoff 
said  that  if  millions  were  needed,  they  would  be 
furnished.  How  much  do  you  need?  Are  a 
himdred  thousand  rubles  enough?" 

MY  LIFE  IN  CHRISTIANIA         309 

"That  is  too  much.  We  shall  need  about  sixty 

"That  is  a  trifling  sum.  You  will  get  this  money. 
Only  write  on  a  little  slip  of  paper  the  amount 
you  need,  sign  it,  and  I  will  turn  it  over  to  Chvost- 

I  wrote  on  a  slip  of  paper,  "60,000  are  needed. 

Then  I  told  Rjevsky  that  he  should  divide  the 
sixty  thousand  rubles  between  five  men  who  would 
kill  Rasputin  and  that  as  soon  as  he  returned  to 
Petrograd  he  would  have  to  send  me  five  thousand 
rubles  for  telegraphic  expenses  and  to  provide  the 
men  with  funds  for  their  trip  and  equipment.  The 
money  was  to  be  given  to  the  men  after  they  had 
accomplished  their  work. 

Rjevsky  then  submitted  to  me  this  plan  for  the 
assassination.  He  said  that  he  would  take  an  auto- 
mobile and  lure  Rasputin  out  of  his  apartment  and 
into  the  house  of  a  certain  aristocratic  woman. 

"We  will  go  through  dark  deserted  streets,"  he 
said.  "In  one  of  these  streets  your  men  must  wait 
and  jump  into  the  automobile  and  kill  him.  We  will 
then  take  his  body,  bury  it  in  the  outskirts  of  the  city, 
and  cover  Grishka  with  a  stone." 

I  told  him  that  his  scheme  was  bound  to  be  a  failure 
because  Rasputin  was  so  cautious  and  prudent  that 
he  would  never  consent  to  drive  in  an  automobile 
with  any  chauffeur  who  was  not  one  of  his  own  men. 
I  added  that  it  was  not  so  easy  to  attack  a  man  in  the 

310      THE  MAD  MONK  OF  RUSSIA 

street,  even  a  deserted  street,  and  kill  him  without 
being  observed. 

Rjevsky  then  said: 

"Well,  what  is  your  plan?" 

"I  have  not  thought  it  over  thoroughly,  but  my  idea 
would  be  something  like  this.  Rasputin  goes  be- 
fore daybreak  to  St.  Isaac's  Cathedral  for  prayer. 
He  always  chooses  a  certain  dark  spot  for  his 
prayers  in  the  cathedral,  and  at  that  time  virtually 
no  one  is  in  the  church.  On  the  eve  of  the  day  one 
of  my  followers  will  telephone  and  ask  him  to  pray 
for  the  convalescence  of  his  son  who  is  ill.  Every- 
thing will  be  done  quietly,  and  the  guard  of  the 
cathedral  will  find  him  dead  in  the  very  church  that 
he  polluted  with  his   sacrilegious  prayers." 

I  exacted  from  Rjevsky  a  promise  not  to  mention 
any  of  our  conversation  even  to  his  wife.  But  he  did 
not  keep  his  word.  With  this  breach  of  faith  he  dug 
a  deep  grave  for  our  plans. 

It  afterward  developed  that  the  woman  was  not 
his  wife,  but  his  mistress,  and  that  she  had  another 
lover  in  Petrograd  by  the  name  of  Heine,  an  en- 
gineer. It  appears  that  she  loved  this  man  more  than 
she  did  Rjevsky,  and  Rjevsky,  in  order  to  break  off 
her  other  affair,  had  taken  her  to  Christiania,  confid- 
ing to  her  the  purpose  of  his  mission  and  the  whole 
of  our  conversation.  "When  Heine  discovered  that 
they  had  made  off  he  went  after  them,  and  at 
Beloostrov,  the  border  station  between  Russia  and 
Finland,  there  ensued  a  fight  between  him  and  Rjev- 


sky,  which  ended  in  the  temporary  arrest  of  Heine 
for  disorderly  conduct,  Rjevsky  proclaiming  that  he 
was  on  a  Red  Cross  mission  to  England  and  in  the 
service  of  the  minister  of  the  interior.  On  her  return 
to  Petrograd,  Maria  Zazulina  went  back  to  her  first 
lover,  and  together  they  planned  how  they  could  get 
rid  of  Rjevsky.  Maria  Zazulina  said  that  she  could 
make  things  so  hot  for  him  that  in  the  next  few  days 
he  would  find  himself  in  a  dungeon.  She  then  re- 
vealed to  Heine  all  the  plans  for  the  attempt  to  kill 
Rasputin.  Heine  was  on  good  terms  with  one  of 
Rasputin's  secret  detectives,  Simonovich  by  name, 
and  he  told  him  everything  that  he  had  heard  from 
Maria.  Simonovich  went  at  once  to  Rasputin,  and 
the  latter,  learning  of  the  plot,  broke  out  into  a 
terrible  rage  and  said  that  he  would  punish  every 
one  of  the  conspirators.  He  had  Rjevsky  arrested 
and  put  in  prison  for  the  alleged  theft  of  two  car- 
loads of  flour,  although  nothing  of  the  kind  had  taken 
place.  Even  Simonovich  was  declared  to  be  a 
German  spy  and  sent  to  prison. 

When  Rjevsky  learned  of  the  failure  of  the  whole 
enterprise  he  begged  for  an  interview  with  Rasputin. 
He  was  taken  to  see  him  in  a  carriage  from  the 
prison,  and  when  Gregory  received  him  he  fell  on 
his  knees,  began  to  weep,  and  told  him  everything. 
He  told  Rasputin  that  he  was  only  a  little  sub- 
ordinate officer  to  Chvostzoff,  whose  instructions  he 
had  followed;  that  the  guilty  ones  were  the  minister 
of  the  interior  and  Iliodor.     Rjevsky  was  banished 

312       THE  MAD  MONK  OF  RUSSIA 

to  Siberia,  and  then  Chvostzoff's  turn  came.  At  this 
time  I  was  still  in  Christiania,  having  no  knowledge 
of  what  was  happening  in  Petrograd.  I  sent  a  tele- 
gram to  certain  friends  in  Tsaritzin,  telling  them  that 
I  was  dying  and  that  they  should  divide  my  posses- 
sions among  them  and  asking  them  to  come  to  see 
me.  At  the  same  time  I  sent  a  telegram  to  Rjevsky: 
"Why  do  you  not  send  five  thousand  for  the  ex- 
penses? Did  you  come  to  see  me  as  a  joke  or  with 
a  serious  intention?"  And  Rjevsky  at  this  time  was 
sitting  in  prison!  The  telegram  was  confiscated  and 
sent  to  Chvostzoff ,  instructions  having  been  given  that 
every  telegram  from  Christiania  should  be  submitted 
first  to  the  minister.  When  Chvostzoff  was  called 
by  the  czar  and  czarina  and  Rasputin  to  answer  the 
accusation,  he  took  this  telegram  with  him. 

"Did  you  want  to  kill  Rasputin?"  the  czar  asked. 

"No,  I  wanted  to  save  you,"  Chvostzoff  replied. 
"I  sent  Rjevsky  to  Christiania  to  bribe  Iliodor  so  that 
the  latter  would  not  publish  a  book  in  which  he  in- 
tends to  denounce  the  life  of  the  court." 

The  czar  more  or  less  believed  Chvostzoff,  but  the 
blow  that  struck  Chvostzoff  came  from  Christiania. 
The  clamor  about  Rasputin  had  become  knoA\Ti  in 
Christiania,  and  all  the  Norwegian  papers  were  full 
of  the  rumor  that  a  conspirator  was  living  in  the  town 
who  had  organized  a  plot  on  the  saint's  life.  Up  to 
this  time  I  had  lived  a  year  and  a  half  in  Christiania 
as  behind  the  doors  of  God.  No  one  had  known  any- 
thing about  me.     But  now  a  whole  army  of  news- 


paper  men  swarmed  into  my  house,  and  naturally  I 
did  not  dare  to  show  myself  in  the  factory.  Rumors 
were  circulated  from  day  to  day  that  the  Norwegian 
authorities  were  going  to  surrender  me  to  the  Rus- 
sian Government.  My  wife  was  in  a  terrible  state 
of  mind. 

"Did  I  not  tell  you  not  to  mix  with  those  devils?" 
she  said.  "You  would  not  listen;  you  never  listen 
to  me.  Now  try  to  get  out  of  this  hole  into  which 
they  have  drawn  you." 

While  I  was  wondering  how  to  extricate  myself 
from  this  predicament,  my  wife  took  the  affair  into 
her  own  hands. 

"You  wanted  to  accomplish  a  great  historic  deed," 
she  said,  "and  they  with  their  sweethearts  brought 
failure  on  the  whole  thing.  Now  you  have  to  face 
the  responsibihty.  I  will  never  allow  the  work  of 
these  traitors  to  separate  you  from  me  and  our  little 

Without  my  knowledge  she  went  to  the  telegraph 
station  and  sent  a  telegram  to  Rasputin  to  the  effect 
that  she  had  authentic  news  of  an  attempt  on  his  life 
and  that  he  should  send  a  faithful  man.  She  signed 
it  "Trufanoff."  On  receiving  this  telegram  Ras- 
putin immediately  renewed  his  attacks  on  Chvostzoff , 
with  the  result  that  the  latter  had  to  offer  his  resigna- 
tion as  minister  of  the  interior. 

My  wife  urged  me  to  write  a  report,  saying  that 
everything  connected  with  the  plot  had  emanated 
from  the  people  in  Russia.     I  did  this,  and  she  sewed 

314      THE  MAD  MONK  OF  RUSSIA 

the  report  into  the  cap  of  my  little  son.  Then  she 
went  to  Petrograd,  hoping  to  induce  the  newspapers 
to  publish  the  report.  On  the  border  all  her  posses- 
sions were  searched,  but  no  one  thought  to  search  the 
little  boy.  She  reached  Petrogi'ad  safely,  and  at  once 
called  upon  Prugavin.  He  said  that  the  story  of  the 
attempt  on  the  life  of  Rasputin  could  not  be  pub- 
lished, as  the  czar  had  issued  orders  that  nothing 
should  be  written  about  Rasputin.  But  the  famous 
Mme.  Lochtina,  who  had  learned  from  one  of  the 
friends  of  Prugavin  of  the  arrival  of  my  wife  in 
Petrograd,  notified  Rasputin  of  her  presence  there. 
The  saint  immediately  came  to  the  house  where  my 
wife  was  stopping. 

"How  do  you  do?"  said  he.  "I  am  glad  that  you 
are  here.  You  will  tell  me  all  about  what  happened 
in  Christiania  in  connection  with  the  plot  to  murder 
me.  Do  not  be  afraid,  darling.  Speak  the  truth; 
otherwise  we  shall  never  learn  it.  Chvostzoif  is  try- 
ing to  shield  himself.  Please  tell  me  everything,  and 
you  shall  not  regret  it." 

My  wife  told  him  that  she  had  a  written  report  of 
the  whole  story.  Rasputin  became  excited,  saying, 
*'That  is  fine!  That  is  fine!  Let  me  have  it!"  She 
gave  him  the  report,  and  he  submitted  it  to  the  czar- 
ina. That  was  on  March  21,  1916.  On  March  23, 
Rasputin  sent  for  my  wife,  asking  her  to  come  to  see 
him.     He  said: 

"I  have  shown  the  report  to  the  czarina.  She  has 
read  it.    We  are  satisfied.    Now  we  know  every- 


thing;  everything  is  clear  to  us.  The  only  thing  is 
that  Iliodor  was  wrong  in  writing  a  book  about  me. 
But  never  mind  that.  Listen.  Would  your  hus- 
band like  to  come  back  to  Russia?" 

My  wife  knew  well  enough  that  it  was  because  of 
my  book  that  they  were  all  being  so  kind;  but  she 
said:     "Of  course  he  would  hke  to  come  back." 

"That  is  good.  You  understand  that  I  will  ar- 
range everything.  No  one  else  can  do  it,  and  I  will 
do  it.  It  will  be  hard,  but  I  will  do  it  just  the  same. 
It  will  take  me  perhaps  two  months,  six  months  at 
the  outside.  The  czar  is  a  little  in  doubt  about  me 
just  now  on  account  of  the  whole  situation  with 
Chvostzoff.  Remember  that  I  appointed  Chvostzoff 
to  the  post  of  minister  of  the  interior,  and  it  was  he 
who  wanted  to  kill  me.  And  once  upon  a  time  I 
assured  the  czar  and  czarina  that  they  could  not  find 
a  better  and  more  honest  man  than  Chvostzoff.  I 
have  thrown  him  out,  but  the  czar  feels  embarrassed. 
He  says  to  me,  'How  can  I  rely  on  you  if  you  ap- 
point bandits  for  ministerial  posts?'  So  you  see. 
Tell  everything  to  Father  Iliodor;  only  tell  him  not 
to  publish  his  book  about  me.  I  will  pay  whatever 
it  costs.  By  the  way,  how  much  does  he  want  for  the 

"I  think  he  wants  a  hundred  thousand  rubles." 

"Oh,  that 's  a  big  sum.  Would  n't  he  be  willing 
to  sell  it  for  less?  We  will  send  some  one  and  try  to 
make  a  bargain.  But  before  this  he  must  send  a 
courier  to  the  czarina,  asking  her  as  a  favor  to  permit 

316       THE  MAD  MONK  OF  RUSSIA 

him  to  return  to  Russia.  You  understand?  That's 
how  it  has  to  be  done.  You  must  send  him  a  tele- 
gram. Send  it  in  my  name.  Say  this:  'Dear,  I 
will  arrange  everything.  You  know  how  they  give 
me  money  and  you  know  that  I  will  do  my  best.' 
We  must  settle  the  question  of  the  book  in  one  way 
or  another.  I  told  him  everything  as  to  a  friend, 
and  now  he  writes  a  book!  My  God!  that  is  terri- 
ble. I  can  never  permit  this  book  to  be  pub- 

These  last  words  Rasputin  articulated  with  intense 
nervous  excitement.  Walking  up  and  down  the 
room,  he  clasped  his  head  frantically  with  his  hands. 
On  a  silver  plate  on  the  table  was  a  bottle  of  wine. 
He  grasped  the  bottle,  and  drank  two  large  glasses 
of  wine,  one  after  the  other.  Then  he  approached 
my  wife  and,  slapping  her  on  the  shoulder,  said, 
"You  are  a  true  Christian." 

My  wife  said : 

"Gregory  Ephimovich,  why  do  you  use  liquor?" 

"Why  should  I  not  drink  good  wine?"  he  replied, 
and  poured  out  a  third  glass.  "This  wine  comes  from 
the  palace.     Would  you  like  to  have  a  drop  ?" 

"No;  I  do  not  touch  wine,"  she  said. 

"How  modest  you  are!  Well,  if  you  don't  want  it, 
all  right.  Tell  me,  did  Rjevsky  explain  to  your 
husband  why  Chvostzoff  wanted  to  kill  me?" 

"Yes,  because  you  wanted  to  sign  a  separate  peace 
with  Germany,"  she  answered. 

Rasputin  was  badly  intoxicated,  and  with  a  laugh 

MY  LIFE  IN  CHRISTIANIA         317 

like  the  barking  of  a  dog  he  drank  a  fourth  glass  of 
wine.  His  hand  was  shaking,  so  that  he  spilled  it  all 
over  his  beard. 

"Well,  do  you  think  that  I  am  not  doing  a  good 
deed  in  trying  to  stop  bloodshed?  I  will  sign  a 
separate  peace;  I  will  sign  it.  The  czar  does  not 
want  it,  but  the  czarina  and  I — we  want  it.  We  will 
break  his  will.  I  am  negotiating  directly  with  the 
kaiser.  We  must  have  peace,  because  if  peace  does 
not  come  soon  the  monarchy  will  perish.  I  will  make 
an  anti-proposition  to  England.  I  will  tell  her  that 
we  are  sacrificing  men  in  this  war,  and  that  if  she 
wants  us  to  go  on,  she  must  give  us  three  billions  in 
gold.  If  England  refuses,  we  will  sign  a  separate 
peace.  No  one  in  the  world  can  keep  me  from  doing 

By  this  time  Rasputin  was  quite  drunk  and  shout- 
ing like  an  insane  man.  My  wife  became  frightened. 
As  she  left,  he  reminded  her  not  to  forget  a  word  of 
what  he  had  told  her. 

On  March  29,  1916,  at  eleven  o'clock  in  the  even- 
ing, a  man  called  upon  me  who  proved  to  be  a  courier 
of  Rasputin's.  Who  he  was  neither  my  wife  nor  I 
know  to  this  day.  He  gave  me  a  letter  from  my  wife 
and  asked  one  in  return  for  the  czarina.  I  not  only 
had  the  letter  ready  for  the  czarina,  but  one  also  for 
Rasputin.  I  wrote  this  to  him  because  my  wife  in- 
formed me  that  Rasputin  wished  my  letter  to  the 
czarina  to  go  through  his  hands.  By  this  courier  I 
sent  a  letter  to  my  wife,  with  the  most  insistent  re- 

318      THE  MAD  MONK  OF  RUSSIA 

quest  that  the  letter  with  three  seals  be  delivered  per- 
sonally to  the  czarina  and  the  envelop  without  a  seal 
to  Rasputin,  and  to  assure  him  that  the  letters  were 
identical.  I  also  wished  her  to  tell  Rasputin  that  I 
did  this  because  I  wanted  my  wife  to  deliver  the  letter 
to  the  czarina  in  person  and  at  the  same  time  tell 
her  certain  things  in  confidence.  The  courier  left 
Christiania  on  March  30.  Rasputin  was  not  in 
Petrograd  when  he  arrived,  having  gone  to 
Poksrovskoye  on  a  visit.  On  April  4  the  courier 
delivered  the  letters  to  my  wife.  The  same  day  she 
was  asked  to  call  at  the  apartment  of  Anna  Vir- 

My  wife  presented  herself  at  the  apartment,  and 
Viroubova  asked  her  for  the  letter  to  the  czarina. 
Acting  under  instructions,  she  gave  it  to  her.  Virou- 
bova was  anxious  to  know  why  I  had  sent  two  letters 
to  the  czarina  and  whether  the  contents  of  the  two 
letters  were  identical.  My  wife  explained  every- 
thing to  her.  Viroubova  took  the  letter  without  the 
seal  and  promised  that  she  would  ask  the  czarina  to 
give  my  wife  an  audience  in  order  that  she  might  per- 
sonally present  the  letter  bearing  the  three  seals  and 
also  have  a  few  confidential  words  with  her.  The 
same  man  who  called  upon  me  in  Christiania  also 
called  upon  my  wife  on  April  5  and  told  her  to  be 
ready  in  the  evening  to  go  to  Tsarskoe  Selo  to  be 
presented  to  the  czarina.  At  the  appointed  hour  he 
appeared  again  and  took  her  to  the  apartment  of 
Viroubova.     In  the   reception-room   he   said:     "Sit 


down,  please.  The  czarina  will  be  here  in  a  few 
moments,"  and  left  the  room.  It  was  then  five 
minutes  of  nine. 

At  nine-fifteen  the  door  opened  noiselessly,  and  a 
tall  woman  entered,  wearing  a  light  dress  and  hat 
and  a  veiy  thick  veil.  She  approached  my  wife, 
reached  out  her  hand,  and  began  to  speak  very 

"Good  evening.  You  were  anxious  to  see  me,  to 
give  me  a  letter,  to  speak  to  me,"  she  said. 

Understanding  that  this  woman  was  the  czarina, 
my  wife  gave  her  the  letter  with  the  three  seals. 
The  czarina  indicated  a  place  near  the  table  for  my 
wife  to  sit,  and  she  herself  sat  down  near  the  door 
beside  a  huge  clock.  From  a  plate  on  the  table  she 
took  a  pair  of  scissors,  gently  cut  the  envelop,  and 
began  to  read  the  letter.  During  her  perusal  the 
fifth  and  the  sixth  page  fell  to  the  floor,  and  my  wife 
handed  them  to  her.  About  forty  minutes  were  con- 
sumed in  reading  the  letter.  From  time  to  time  the 
czarina  breathed  heavily,  and  pressed  her  side  with 
her  free  hand,  as  though  suffering.  When  she  had 
finished,  she  turned  to  mv  wife  and  said:  "Your 
husband  has  not  reformed.  As  he  was,  so  he  is  still. 
He  has  written  me  a  terrible  letter.  Are  you  ac- 
quainted with  the  contents  of  this  letter?" 

"No,  your  INIajesty.  The  courier  brought  the 
letter  to  me  sealed." 

"That  is  good.  Why  do  you  not  use  your  influence 
with  your  husband?" 

320       THE  MAD  MONK  OF  RUSSIA 

"I  always  tell  him  that  truth  may  he  good,  hut 
happiness  is  still  better." 

"It  is  not  right,  what  he  is  doing.  If  he  would 
speak  only  the  truth — but  you  do  not  know  what  kind 
of  truth  he  has  told  me  in  his  letter.  Are  you  ac- 
quainted with  the  book  he  is  writing?" 

"Yes,  a  little,  your  Majesty." 

"On  the  strength  of  what  documents  did  your  hus- 
band write  the  book  about  Gregory?" 

"I  do  not  know  all  the  details,  but  I  can  sav  that 
among  the  documents  are  letters  from  you  to  Ras- 
putin and  from  Rasputin  to  your  Majesty." 

"That  is  terrible."  With  these  words  she  looked 
at  the  clock ;  but  it  was  clear  that  she  was  not  so  much 
interested  in  the  time  as  endeavoring  to  conceal  her 
emotion.  Then  she  added:  "Your  husband  has  en- 
titled the  book  'The  Holy  Devil.'  That  is  a  strange 
title.     Are  there  holy  devils?" 

"I  do  not  know,  your  Majesty." 

"No.  Your  husband  is  terrible.  I  will  think 
it  over,  and  you  will  soon  receive  an  answer  from  me. 
Good  night." 

My  wife  had  barely  time  to  kiss  the  hand  of  the 
czarina  and  come  back  to  her  senses  when  she  was 

The  same  mysterious  man  then  reappeared  and 
said  that  he  would  see  that  she  safely  reached  Petro- 
grad  and  that  he  would  probably  call  upon  her  the 
next  day.  This  he  did  and  suggested  that  she  go 
again,  alone,  and  call  upon  Viroubova.     My  wife  did 

MY  LIFE  IN  CHRISTIANIA         321 

so,  but  the  porter  told  her  that  madame  was  not  at 
home  and  that  it  would  be  very  difficult  for  her  to  see 
her.  One  of  the  servants,  however,  volunteered  the 
information  that  Mme.  Viroubova  was  at  the  War 
hospital  of  her  majesty  the  czarina,  and  that  if  my 
wife  would  write  a  letter,  he  would  deliver  it.  When 
she  had  done  this,  the  porter  instructed  her  to  go  to 
the  hospital  and  wait  there  until  he  had  time  to  de- 
liver the  letter  to  his  mistress.  A  few  moments  later, 
in  the  reception-room  of  the  hospital,  Viroubova  ap- 
peared, and,  asking  every  one  to  leave  the  room,  re- 
mained alone  with  my  wife.  She  spoke  very 
amicably  to  her. 

"Thank  God!  everything  will  be  arranged  for  the 
best.  Be  quiet!  You  can  go  home.  Two  couriers 
have  already  been  sent  to  your  husband  with  refer- 
ence to  the  book  and  his  return.  Tell  him  that  he 
does  not  need  to  worry.  We  like  him  just  the  same 
and  believe  in  him.  Only  tell  him,  if  he  comes  back 
to  Petrograd,  he  must  hold  his  tongue.  If  he  knows 
anything,  let  him  keep  it  to  himself.  The  whole  truth 
can  never  be  spoken,  and  truth  is  not  always  in  the 
right  place.     Give  him  our  kindest  regards." 

My  wife  bade  good-by  to  Viroubova.  She  left 
Russia,  convinced  of  the  sincerity  of  all  that  Rasputin 
and  Viroubova  had  told  her. 

The  letters  that  I  had  sent  to  the  czarina,  to  Ras- 
putin, and  to  my  wife  had  the  same  general  con- 
tents. I  told  the  czarina  that  unless  she  gave 
Rasputin  up,  ruin  would  come  upon  her  and  the 

322       THE  MAD  MONK  OF  RUSSIA 

dynasty.  Then  I  proved  that  in  all  my  actions 
against  her  and  the  czar  I  had  been  right.  I  stated 
my  conviction  that  after  this  letter  all  roads  to  Russia 
would  be  barred  to  me,  and  I  mentioned  that,  if 
destiny  did  not  permit  me  to  return  to  Russia,  she 
would  at  least  do  well  to  listen  to  a  few  of  my  wishes 
which  might  save  her. 

I  quote  the  letter  here,  abbreviating  it  to  a  certain 
extent  for  my  American  readers.  It  is  dated 
Christiania,  May  29,  1915. 

Your  Majesty: 

First  of  all  permit  me  to  tell  you  that  in  your  hands  and 
in  the  hands  of  the  czar  lies  the  possibility  of  diverting 
Russia  from  a  bloody  revolution  toward  a  peaceful  evolution. 
Behind  your  government,  silent,  but  bitter,  the  people  are 
murmuring  discontent,  and  before  the  external  enemy  there 
stands  an  army  unfriendly  to  you.  The  people  and  the  army 
have  so  far  kept  silence,  but  this  silence  is  only  the  lull 
before  the  outbreak  of  the  storm.  You  understand  this 
yourself.  You  liave  mobilized  the  police,  virtually  doubling 
their  salaries.  The  ministerial  posts  are  filled  with  the  most 
reactionary  elements.  A  few  days  ago,  against  the  interests 
of  the  military  power,  you  substituted  General  Schuvaeff 
for  the  minister  of  war,  Polyvanoff.  It  is  strange  that  you 
are  more  anxious  to  conquer  the  enemy  within  than  the  enemy 
without.  But  no  matter  what  you  undertake  under  the 
advice  of  Rasputin,  you  will  not  be  able  to  combat  the 
stormy  waves  of  the  approaching  revolution.  These  waves 
will  destroy  the  dam,  and  then — what  will  happen,  you  your- 
self can  guess. 

Majesty,  whether  this  bloody  event  will  tend  to  a  rebirth 
of  Russia  I  cannot  say;  but  its  trials  will  be  ten  times  as 

MY  LIFE  IN  CHRISTIANIA         323 

terrible  as  those  caused  by  the  present  great  war.  This  is 
a  fact  beyond  doubt. 

My  illustrious  Sister,  I  repeat  that  in  your  hands  lies  the 
blood  of  the  people.  Do  not  permit  this  blood  to  be  shed, 
for  its  waves  will  cover  your  head  and  drown  you.  Guide 
Russia  through  the  great  road  of  peaceful  rebirth.  Guide 
your  people  toward  glory  and  power  without  this  crucifixion. 
I  myself  have  already  gone  through  one  Golgotha,  one  cruci- 
fixion. Majesty,  will  you  not  listen  to  me  as  to  a  brother, 
will  you  not  hsten  to  the  few  counsels  which  I  will  give 

Cheer  us  from  your  palace,  and  do  not  trust  too  far  this 
unintelligent  muzhik  Rasputin.  You  believe  in  him  as  a 
prophet.  Majesty,  he  is  an  apocryphal  prophet.  He  is 
as  much  a  prophet  as  those  ancient  imposters  who  counseled 
the  kings  of  Israel  with  predictions  of  their  coming  glory  at  a 
time  when  peril  was  already  sweeping  them  toward  destruc- 
tion. Rasputin  has  been  for  me  the  personification  of  deceit, 
filth,  and  immorality.  Discard  him  from  your  presence.  He 
disgraces  Russia  in  the  eyes  of  all  the  civilized  world.  Send 
him  away,  no  matter  what  secrets  bind  you  together.  The 
Russian  people  through  the  Duma  have  told  you  their  opin- 
ion of  Rasputin.  Do  not  neglect  this  protest,  for  the  eye 
of  the  people  is  the  eye  of  God. 

Majesty,  there  are  moments  when  we  have  to  speak  even 
to  those  who  do  not  wish  to  listen.  Your  ministers,  during 
the  sessions  of  the  reactionaries,  have  declared  to  the  whole 
world  that  the  manifesto  of  the  seventeenth  of  October,  1905, 
granting  a  constitution  to  the  Russian  people,  was  a  dead  is- 
sue. Such  conduct  on  the  part  of  your  ministers  is  impossi- 
ble and  immoral.  In  a  political  sense  the  constitution  is  not 
a  dead  issue.  The  oak  that  grew  from  the  blood  of  Russian 
martyrs  has  not  been  killed.  Only  the  leaves  of  the  tree 
have  fallen;  the  roots  are  deeply  imbedded  in  the  national 

324      THE  MAD  MONK  OF  RUSSIA 

life.  The  manifesto  was  given  to  the  czar.  For  what  do 
they  take  him,  these  ministers  who  express  their  love  and 
devotion  to  him  on  every  occasion?  Do  they  really  consider 
the  czar  a  little  boy  or  a  marionette  with  which  they  can 
play.?  Empress,  the  honor  of  the  czar  is  the  honor  of  all 
Russia.  Make  the  ministers  cease  their  slander  of  the  Rus- 
sian people  and  the  czar. 

Empress,  for  the  sake  of  millions  of  young  lives  buried  on 
the  battle-field,  give  amnesty  to  all  political  criminals  impris- 
oned in  fortresses  and  prisons,  hidden  on  the  forsaken 
Siberian  plains,  and  scattered  through  foreign  countries. 
This  you  should  have  done  before  the  war,  so  that  all  the 
sons  of  Russia  could  have  gone  to  the  defense  of  their  coun- 
try. It  should  have  been  done  because  the  political  crim- 
inals are  the  most  highly  developed  intellectual  members  of 
the  Russian  people,  and  in  this  bloody  war,  the  success  of 
which  is  based  on  high  technic,  the  mental  energies  of  the 
people  are  required.  But  it  is  better  late  than  never.  Let 
the  soldiers  on  the  battle-field  greet  their  convict  brothers 
with  joy,  united  by  the  ties  of  love  and  gratitude;  let  them 
all  help  to  organize  Russia  in  order  to  make  her  in  the  future 
wage  a  victorious  war,  for  other  wars  will  take  place  in  the 

Empress,  together  with  political  liberty,  give  to  all  relig- 
ious freedom.  Let  every  one  believe  according  to  his  faitli. 
Establish  a  law  whereby  no  one  in  Russia  will  have  the  right 
to  protest  against  the  rehgion  of  another,  no  matter  how 
contrary  this  religion  may  be  to  his  own  belief.  Take  away 
the  sword  of  the  policeman  from  the  representatives  of  the 
so-called  Orthodox  Church.  Leave  it  to  the  Philistines  to 
defend  their  God  with  their  fists.  Religion  is  a  very  delicate 
thing ;  even  the  slightest  touch  from  the  outside  makes  itself 
felt  to  those  who  struggle  in  the  net  of  many  unsolved  prob- 
lems of  the  human  soul.  Empress,  grant  this  religious  free- 
dom, and  you  will  free  future  Russian  empresses  from  a  wrong 

MY  LIFE  IN  CHRISTIANIA         325 

and  ugly  position.  You  have  been  a  Princess  of  Hesse- 
Darmstadt  and  professed  the  religion  of  Christ  in  the  con- 
ception that  was  presented  to  you  by  the  great  prophet 
and  reformer  Martin  Luther.  You  were  married  to  the 
Russian  czar,  and  you  relinquished  the  religion  of  your  ances- 
tors and  adopted  a  religion  of  which  you  had  no  other  knowl- 
edge than  by  hearsay.  And  you  know  how  the  Russian 
people  look  upon  religious  renegades,  particularly  those  who 
renounce  their  former  creed  for  worldly  purposes.  All  this 
could  have  been  avoided  if  there  had  been  freedom  of  religion 
for  the  czar.  Such  freedom  does  not  exist,  but  must  come. 
Give  it  to  the  people  and  to  yourself  and  to  those  who  in  the 
future  wOl  occupy  your  position  as  empress. 

After  this,  grant  to  the  Russian  people  full  civil  rights. 
Eliminate  the  aristocratic  classes  and  regulate  all  the  classes 
by  one  right  and  one  law.  Give  to  every  Russian  the  oppor- 
tunity to  assist  in  building  up  the  country.  Stop  drawing 
from  the  aristocrats  only  for  government  positions.  Draw 
from  the  ocean  of  the  real  Russian  people.  The  aristoc- 
racy is  an  artificial  power,  already  touched  by  decay.  The 
czar  calls  it  the  support  of  the  throne.  That  is  not  so. 
The  aristocrats  are  the  columns  of  the  throne,  but  the  sup- 
ports are  defective.  It  is  not  yet  too  late  to  change  these 
supports;  otherwise,  a  storm  will  come,  the  supports  will 
give  way,  your  throne  will  fall,  and  under  it  you  will  find  a 
grave  for  yourself.  Grant  rights  to  all  Russians,  and  do 
not  wait  until  they  throw  themselves  against  you  and  demand 
these  rights. 

Empress,  the  great  Russian  Empire  holds  within  it  many 
nationalities.  All  these  nationalities  alike  stand  with  arms 
in  hand  to  fight  against  the  external  foe.  Therefore  be  just 
to  them  all.  Let  them  all  be  legitimate  sons  of  Russia,  let 
them  all  be  your  children,  beloved  by  you  and  the  czar.  Let 
every  nationality  enjoy  full  freedom  to  develop  itself.  Let 
every  nationality  not  only  have  its  own  belief,  but  speak  its 

326      THE  MAD  MONK  OF  RUSSIA 

own  tongue,  arrange  its  life  according  to  its  own  customs, 
and  govern  itself.  Let  all  the  nationalities  scattered  through 
our  great  empire  have  one  unity  alone;  let  them  take  the 
oath  to  defend  the  country  when  it  is  threatened  by  a  foreign 
foe.  This  unity  would  not  interfere  with  the  different 
nationalities,  because  the  bayonet  and  the  rifle  are  things 
which  everywhere  speak  one  language  and  profess  one  relig- 

Empress,  in  the  name  of  true  Christianity  grant  equal 
rights  to  the  unfortunate  Jews.  Eliminate  the  restricted 
residence  lines.  Give  to  the  persecuted  and  hunted  Jews  the 
possibility  of  making  their  living  where  they  find  it  most  pos- 
sible. Let  the  Jews,  with  their  greater  energy,  serve  the 
sluggish  Russian  people  to  the  advantage  of  all.  Empress, 
Empress,  if  you  had  only  once  cast  a  glance  upon  the  shame- 
ful poverty  in  which  the  Jews  have  to  live  in  Russia,  your 
heart  would  have  bled  and  you  would  have  had  pity  for  these 
poor  people.  But  you  have  never  seen  their  misery,  and  you 
are  surrounded  by  people  whose  bloodthirstiness  will  never 
permit  them  to  tell  you  the  truth.  Do  not  listen  to  their 
slander  of  the  Jews.  Make  peace  with  these  poor  people, 
and  make  them  sign  a  peace  with  you.  By  this  you  will 
avoid  vain  and  sorrowful  remorse. 

Empress,  I  suppose  you,  like  all  the  Russian  people,  believe 
that  through  prayers  and  mercy  the  lives  of  our  dear  ones 
in  the  hereafter  will  be  bettered.  You  with  the  czar  should 
be  ready  to  pay  tribute  to  those  who  have  given  their  lives 
on  the  field  of  honor  to  the  country.  This  is  generally  done 
in  the  form  of  mercy  to  the  poor.  You  should  do  likewise. 
Have  twenty-five  bUlion  rubles  ready,  five  billions  to  buy  land 
for  the  returning  warriors,  five  billions  for  the  widows  and 
orphans,  five  billions  for  the  crippled  and  wounded,  five  bil- 
lions for  the  populace,  who  have  suffered  through  the  invasion 
of  the  enemy,  and  five  billions  for  the  reorganization  of  tor- 
tured and  beaten,  burned  and  crippled  Poland. 

MY  LIFE  IN  CHRISTIANIA         327 

Empress,  you  will  be  astonished,  and  you  will  say :  *'Are 
you  mad,  Iliodor?  Where  can  we  get  such  a  sum  of 
money?"  Empress,  I  am  in  sound  mind  and  senses  and  I 
know  exactly  of  what  I  am  speaking.  When  it  was  a  ques- 
tion of  giving  land  to  the  poor  peasants,  there  was  no  money 
to  buy  the  land;  but  when  it  came  to  fighting  a  war,  then 
billions  and  billions  were  found.  Procure  now  the  money 
for  those  who  have  suffered  in  order  to  save  for  you  your 
lands  and  your  palaces.  Look  for  it,  have  it  ready,  have 
it  ready,  and  give  it  away.  Give  only  a  part  of  what  you 
possess ;  you  need  not  be  deprived  of  all.  Empress,  if  you 
will  seriously  undertake  this  work,  you  will  find  a  source  that 
will  yield  twenty-five  billions.  If  you  cannot  find  it,  I  will 
help  you.  I  will  show  you  how  easy  it  is  to  find.  First  of 
all,  I  will  go  to  the  imperial  family.  You  have  recently  built 
a  palace  with  crj^stal  walls  and  ceilings.  This  palace  cost 
five  millions.  Your  fortune  permits  you  to  build  hundreds 
of  such  palaces.  Your  Government  will  be  forced  to  raise 
a  loan  of  many  billions.  The  first  contribution  should  be 
made  by  you,  the  czar,  and  your  whole  family.  Do  it  openly. 
Make  it  generously.  Have  it  told  in  every  city,  in  every 
village,  in  every  nook  and  comer,  and,  believe  me.  Empress, 
all  your  subjects  will  admire  you  and  will  be  inspired  with 
such  enthusiasm  that  they  will  bring  for  the  memory  of  their 
beloved  patriots  as  much  money  as  is  needed. 

Then,  Empress,  you  and  the  czar  and  the  whole  imperial 
family,  give  your  useless  palaces  for  hospitals,  asylums, 
schools,  and  almshouses  for  those  who  have  suffered.  Of  the 
land  you  must  give  at  least  half  to  the  poor,  who  are  in 
great  need  of  it.  Fix  a  direct  tax  upon  the  incomes  of  the 
rich,  at  least  half  the  interest  on  their  capital.  Certainly 
the  rich  will  not  like  this,  but  they  will  console  themselves 
when  they  see  what  you  have  given  for  Russian  misery. 
From  the  rich  go  to  the  convents  and  transform  them  into 
orphan  asylums.     Make  the  young  nuns  servants.     Trans- 

328      THE  MAD  MONK  OF  RUSSIA 

form  the  monasteries  into  hospitals  for  crippled  soldiers. 
Let  the  young  monks  serve  the  heroic  defenders  of  the  father- 
land, and  place  the  old  monks,  like  the  new  nuns,  in  the  im- 
perial asylums.  Take  aAvay  all  their  treasured  riches,  their 
land  and  forests,  and  all  the  wealth  that  is  hidden  within 
their  walls.  This  will  amount  to  a  couple  of  billions,  for  the 
Russian  monasteries  are  colossally  rich. 

Empress,  I  give  you  extraordinory  counsels,  but  I  do  so 
to  remain  faithful  to  ray  principles.  Extraordinary  circum- 
stances require  extraordinary  measures  and  expenditures, 
and  no  one  can  deny  that  the  circumstances  in  which  we  find 
ourselves  are  of  a  most  extraordinary  nature  and  without 
precedent  in  Russian  history.  These  are  my  wishes.  If 
you  fulfil  them,  you  will  save  yourself,  the  czar,  your  throne, 
and  your  house,  and  you  will  save  Russia  from  a  terrible 
revolution.  But  if  you  do  not  fulfil  them,  what  was  predicted 
in  the  seventeenth,  eighteenth  and  nineteenth  chapters  of  the 
Apocalypse  will  take  place. 

Empress,  do  not  go  consciously  toward  your  own  destruc- 
tion. I  tell  you  only  what  God  has  told  me  to  tell  you.  Do 
not  go  against  God.  And  do  not  read  this  letter  to  Ras- 
putin. He  is  an  evil  spirit,  and  will  fight  against  the  will 
of  God. 

Pardon  me  for  my  rude  words  and  the  bitterness  of  my 
truth.  I  remain  the  priest  of  God's  Church  known  to  you, 
your  Majesty,  as 

Father  Iliodor. 

Subsequent  events  proved  that  the  empress  did  not 
follow  my  advice.  My  letter  was  read  to  Rasputin 
immediately  on  his  return  from  Poksrovskoye. 

As  a  result,  on  Sunday,  April  16,  1916,  a  man 
knocked  at  the  door  of  my  apartment  in  Christiania. 
I  called  out: 


"Who  is  there?" 

"I  am  from  Russia,"  was  the  answer.  "I  have 
come  from  them." 

"How  can  you  call  upon  me  without  any  notice?" 
I  said  through  the  door.  "You  know  that  after  what 
happened  with  Rjevsky  I  cannot  receive  or  speak  to 
any  one  from  Russia.  If  I  were  to  decide  to  receive 
any  one  from  Russia,  I  should  first  have  to  find  out 
who  he  was.     You  may  be  armed." 

"No,  I  am  not  armed." 

"But  Rjevsky  had  two  pistols." 

"I  am  not  a  man  of  Rjevsky's  type.  I  come  direct 
from  them, — from  Tsarskoe  Selo, — and  everything 
is  all  right  there  for  you." 

"What  is  your  name?" 

"Roman  Ivan  Petroff." 

"What  is  your  business?" 

He  answered  that  he  occupied  a  government  posi- 

"Are  you  alone?'* 

"No.  My  companion,  Sergius  Tchescherin,  is 
waiting  for  me  at  the  Grand  Hotel." 

"Who  is  Tchescherin?" 

He  replied  that  he  was  a  general. 

"But  I  am  not  dressed;  I  cannot  see  you  now. 
Come  in  half  an  hour,  and  I  will  go  with  you  to  the 
Grand  Hotel  and  meet  your  companion." 

"Very  well;  I  will  come  for  you  in  an  automobile." 

"The  man,  whose  face  I  had  not  seen  at  all,  as  I 
spoke  through  the  closed  door,  left  me  and  returned 

330      THE  MAD  MONK  OF  RUSSIA 

in  half  an  hour.  I  asked  to  see  his  passport.  He 
showed  it  to  me.  It  read,  "The  bearer  is  forty-six 
years  old  and  is  an  official  of  the  ministry  of  agricul- 
ture, abroad  on  business."  On  our  way  to  the  hotel 
he  said: 

"I  understand  that  you  have  worked  in  a  factory." 

"Yes,  I  did  at  one  time." 

"Why  did  you  leave  the  work?" 

"I  am  rather  an  unskilled  laborer.  You  must  not 
forget  that  for  twenty  years  I  held  in  my  hands 
nothing  but  a  pen  and  a  cross.  I  found  that  I  was 
getting  more  than  I  could  give,  and  I  left." 

"You  certainly  have  a  Christian  spirit.  If  all  the 
workmen  followed  such  precepts,  there  would  be  no 
such  thing  as  this  damnable  socialism." 

"My  way  of  thinking  differs  from  yours.  I  think 
that  if  all  the  workmen  acted  as  I  did,  they  would  be 

"You  mean  to  say  that  you  are  an  idiot?" 

"No.  I  left  the  factory  because  I  did  not  know 
how  to  work.  Workmen  who  know  their  business 
should  stay  in  the  factory  and  see  that  their  superiors 
do  not  take  too  much  advantage  of  them.  If  labor 
were  paid  justly  and  humanly,  there  would  be  no 
palaces  and  there  would  be  no  slums." 

"Oh,  I  see.  You  say  you  are  working  in  the 
factory  still?    Your  hands  are  whiter  than  mine." 

""Why  do  you  ask  me  such  questions?  If  you  have 
come  to  verify  what  I  wrote  to  the  empress,  all  right; 
but  leave  me  alone." 

















S  3 

r    D 
o   o 





'Don't  be  nervous.  We  came  for  a  different  pur- 
pose. This  was  only  apropos;  so  please  do  not 

The  car  stopped  at  the  hotel.  We  stepped  into 
the  elevator  and  were  taken  to  Room  345.  I  was 
greeted  by  a  man  with  a  long,  gray  beard  who  was 
introduced  as  Sergius  Tchescherin. 

"You  see  my  beard,"  said  he.  "Don't  be  afraid. 
We  are  not  Rjevskys.  You  may  judge  by  my 

"Excellency,"  I  answered,  "in  the  olden  times  the 
brain  ran  into  the  beard,  and  we  were  told  that  'the 
stronger  the  beard,  the  greater  the  mind.'  But  the 
twentieth  century  has  changed  many  things.  In 
fact,  a  beard  rather  tends  to  remind  us  now  of  a 
man's  neghgence.  However,  I  hope  that  you  are 
not  even  a  relative  of  Rjevsky." 

"Oh,  far  from  being  a  relative!  Our  mission  here 
is  a  wholly  different  one.  Will  you  please  step  into 
my  room  and  let  us  have  a  httle  talk?"  We  sat  down. 
"You  know  whence  we  have  come  and  by  whom  we 
have  been  sent?" 

"I  do  not  know,  but  I  can  guess." 

"You  guess  right.  Did  you  write  a  letter  to  the 

"I  did." 

"We  have  come  to  talk  with  you  about  the  con- 
tents of  the  letter.  Would  you  like  to  return  to 


334      THE  MAD  MONK  OF  RUSSIA 

"Well,  let  us  talk  about  what  can  be  done  just  now. 
Remember  we  are  speaking  in  the  name  of  the  em- 
press. She  has  sent  two  of  us,  so  that  there  will  be 
a  witness." 

"In  other  words,  my  conversation  will  be  before  a 
witness,  but  yours  without.     But  never  mind." 

"Trust  us,  trust  the  empress.  Tell  us,  what  do 
you  expect  to  do  on  your  return  to  Russia?" 

"As  long  as  there  is  no  religious  freedom,  I  wish  to 
live  where  I  was  bom,  to  study  natural  history  and 

"Splendid  ideas!  But  you  will  not  speak  and 

"No,  I  will  not." 

"Will  you  communicate  with  the  people?" 

"No,  I  will  not." 

"Splendid.  You  will  be  given  a  house  with  a 
library  and  an  observatory;  one  hundred  thousand 
rubles  will  be  deposited  in  the  bank  for  you.  Are 
you  satisfied?" 

"But  for  my  colony  about  which  I  spoke — will  the 
czarina  give  me  four  hundred  thousand  rubles?" 

"This  we  do  not  know,  and  we  have  no  right  to 
make  any  promises." 

"Will  I  be  hounded  by  the  pohce?" 

"Certainly  there  will  be  police." 

"Why?    Do  you  expect  to  torture  me  again?" 

"No,  they  will  serve  as  your  body-guard,  and  also 
as  a  guarantee  that  you  will  not  leave  Russia  again 
and  go  abroad,  or  some  day  change  your  mind  and 


have  the  book  about  Gregory  Rasputin  published." 

"Well,  it  looks  as  if  you  did  not  trust  me.  Why 
did  you  come  to  see  me?" 

"We  trust  you,  but  this  is  the  usual  procedure." 

"It  is  from  procedures  of  this  kind  that  I  have 
fled.     No,  I  will  never  return  to  them." 

"Don't  worry;  don't  worry.  We  will  try  to  find 
a  compromise.  As  a  token  of  gratitude  for  what  the 
empress  is  going  to  do  for  you,  you  must  give  her 
the  manuscript  to  read.  We  will  now  tell  the  em- 
press what  you  have  said.  In  all  probability  you  will 
be  called  to  Haparanda.  You  will  probably  have 
to  surrender  the  manuscript.  You  will  receive 
money,  and  then  you  will  be  able  to  return  to 

"Do  you  mean  this  seriously?" 

"Of  course.     We  have  not  come  here  for  a  joke." 

"Why  does  the  empress  want  my  manuscript? 
She  knows  what  it  deals  with." 

"So  you  do  not  intend  to  deliver  the  manuscript! 

"In  no  circumstances.     Why  does  she  want  it? 

"Why,  just  suppose  for  curiosity's  sake.  A 
woman's  heart  is  very  obstinate.  She  has  decided  to 
have  the  manuscript  and  she  must  have  it." 

"Tell  the  empress  that  there  is  not  money  enough 
in  the  whole  world  to  buy  my  manuscript.  And  I  re- 
fuse to  go  to  Haparanda  for  any  kind  of  dealings." 

"Sorry,  very  sorry." 

"Please  do  not  consider  me  a  fool.  Haparanda  is 
only  a  step  from  Tornea.     The  Russian  consul  in 

336      THE  MAD  MONK  OF  RUSSIA 

Haparanda  and  the  Russian  policeman  in  Tornea  can 
light  their  cigarettes  with  the  same  match." 

Luncheon  was  served.  During  luncheon  they 
modijfied  their  demands  a  little,  probably  acting  on 
their  own  initiative.     Tchescherin  asked: 

"Tell  me,  what  was  the  object  of  Minister 
Chvostzoff' s  asking  your  cooperation  in  the  plot 
against  the  life  of  Rasputin?" 

"I  think  he  did  it  because  he  did  not  have  reliable 

"That  is  nonsense." 

"Well,  what  do  you  think?" 

"I  think  it  was  because  his  friend  Belezky,  who 
was  in  charge  of  the  department  of  police,  refused  to 
do  such  an  unlawful  act.  Chvostzoff  is  a  big 
scoundrel.  All  the  time  he  was  dissipating  with  Ras- 
putin ;  then  he  turned  against  him." 

"What  was  the  quarrel  between  them?"  I  asked. 

"Chvostzoff  was  ambitious  and  wanted  to  be  prime 
minister,  and  Rasputin  pointed  out  how  young  he 
was.  He  was  forty-one.  And  this  youngster 
wanted  to  concentrate  all  the  power  in  his  hands!" 

"Where  is  Chvostzoff  now?" 

"Rasputin  forced  him  to  leave  Petrograd  in 
twenty-four  hours,  and  he  went  to  his  estate." 

"Do  you  think  that  Rasputin  will  survive  these 
various  conspiracies?" 

"Everything  depends  upon  his  body-guards.  Do 
you  expect  there  will  be  a  revolution  in  Russia?" 

MY  LIFE  IN  CHRISTIANIA         337 

"Surely  there  will  be  one,  if  the  czar  does  not  im- 
mediately grant  to  the  people  everything  I  have 
stipulated  in  my  letter  to  the  czarina." 

Considering  that  I  had  nothing  more  to  say  or  do, 
I  then  bade  them  good-by.  They  begged  me  not  to 
speak  with  any  one  regarding  the  meeting,  and  to 
think  the  whole  matter  over  thoroughly;  but  I  told 
them  that  my  mind  was  already  made  up. 

"My  last  word,"  I  said,  "is  that  I  shall  not  give 
up  my  manuscript  to  the  czarina  or  go  to  Hapar- 

Returning  home,  I  found  that  my  wife  had  just 
arrived  from  Petrograd.  She  told  me  in  great 
ecstasy  of  her  achievements  in  Petrograd  and 
Tsarskoe  Selo. 

"Calm  your  joy,"  said  I.  "It  is  not  my  happiness 
that  the  empress  desires,  but  my  head.  I  have  just 
come  from  two  of  her  emissaries.  From  their  con- 
versation I  know  what  criminal  designs  they  are  en- 
gineering against  me." 

A  few  days  later  I  decided  to  send  the  following 
telegram  to  the  empress: 

I  have  discovered  your  treachery.  Repentance  is  far  from 
you,  but  the  judgment  of  God  without  mercy  is  at  hand. 
From  Jezebel  and  Herodias  I  will  save  my  head  by  taking  it 
to  America. 


The  telegraph  office  in  Christiania  refused  to  ac- 
cept the  telegram  because  it  was  addressed  to  a 

338      THE  MAD  MONK  OF  RUSSIA 

member  of  the  imperial  family.  I  then  sent  the 
message  in  the  form  of  a  letter  addressed  to  Virou- 
bova,  requesting  her  to  transmit  it  to  Sister  Alex- 
andra Feodorovna. 



When  I  decided  to  come  to  America  I  was  not 
thinking  so  much  of  my  head;  one  head  more  or  less 
in  the  ocean  of  humanity  does  not  matter  greatly.  I 
was  prompted  in  my  decision  rather  by  the  desire  to 
see  how  soon  the  heads  of  those  who  were  looking  for 
mine  would  remain  on  their  own  shoulders.  My  voy- 
age to  America  had  a  twofold  purpose :  first  of  all,  to 
escape  from  the  Empress  Alexandra,  on  whose  ac- 
count my  house  was  continually  surrounded  by 
suspicious-looking  creatures;  secondly,  I  wanted  to 
publish  in  the  New  World  the  truth  about  Rasputin 
and  the  Russian  court. 

I  left  Christiania  on  June  4,  1916,  on  the 
Kristiansfjord  and  arrived  in  New  York  on  June 
18.  Before  boarding  the  steamer  I  was  cautioned 
by  some  friends  in  Christiania  that  the  ship  would 
anchor  in  Kirkwall  and  that  the  English  officials 
would  make  a  most  vigorous  search  of  the  belongings 
of  the  passengers.  This  proved  not  to  be  the  case; 
but  believing  what  my  friends  had  told  me,  I  de- 
stroyed many  valuable  documents. 

I  immediately  called  upon  a  friend  who  had  taken 
part  in  the  Ford  Peace  Conference  and  whom  I  had 
met  in  Christiania.    As  I  was  an  absolute  stranger, 


340      THE  MAD  MONK  OF  RUSSIA 

knowing  neither  the  language  nor  the  conditions  of 
American  life,  I  asked  him  to  help  me  to  find  a  little 
apartment.  New  York  made  a  colossal  impression 
upon  me.  I  was  overcome  with  a  sense  of  weakness 
when  I  witnessed  its  wonderful  pulsating  energy. 
The  continuous  lines  of  buildings  weighed  heavily 
upon  me.  What  really  frightened  me  most  was  the 
thought  that  I  might  be  forced  to  abandon  the  simple, 
frugal  life  to  which  I  was* accustomed.  I  was,  there- 
fore, happily  surprised  to  find  that  my  life  in  the 
little  apartment  was  flowing  on  as  peacefully  and 
quietly  as  though  no  change  had  ever  taken  place. 
Perhaps  this  was  in  a  measure  due  to  the  fact  that 
my  life  was  circumscribed  by  an  extremely  narrow 
field  of  activity.  I  knew  virtually  no  one,  and  out- 
side the  particular  quarter  of  the  city  in  which  I  lived 
I  did  not  go,  my  publishing  friends  suggesting  that 
I  should  live  incognito  until  my  revelations  appeared. 
The  only  stranger  who  visited  me  was  the  editor  of  a 
magazine,  "The  Metropolitan,"  who  came  several 
times  a  week  to  assist  me  in  the  work  of  preparing 
my  articles  for  publication.  So  passed  June,  July, 
and  August.  I  believed  that  God  had  sent  me  to  a 
peaceful  harbor,  and  I  was  happy  in  this  quiet  life. 
But  from  the  depths  of  this  quietude  the  Russian 
Government  once  more  emerged,  and  my  life  became 
filled  with  turmoil. 

At  the  beginning  of  September  *'The  Metro- 
politan" advertised  the  forthcoming  publication  of 
my  articles.     On  September  9,  as  though  in  answer 


to  the  announcement  of  the  magazine,  I  received  a 
visit  from  Archbishop  Evdokim,  accompanied  by 
Consul-General  Michael  Ustinoff .  My  wife  told  me 
that  there  was  an  automobile  waiting  near  the  en- 
trance, and  the  archbishop  and  the  consul-general 
came  up  and  asked  me  to  accompany  them. 

If  it  had  not  been  for  the  fact  that  I  had  known 
Archbishop  Evdokim  in  Russia,  I  certainly  would 
have  refused  to  go;  but  I  felt  that  a  refusal  might 
be  an  act  of  discourtesy  toward  him.  I  must  confess 
that  as  I  was  leaving  the  house  I  thought  that  there 
might  be  some  conspiracy  on  foot ;  but  as  I  had  recog- 
nized Evdokim  instantly,  I  entered  the  automobile 
without  fear.  They  immediately  began  to  beg  me 
not  to  publish  my  articles,  and  offered  me  twenty-five 
thousand  dollars  if  I  would  withhold  them. 

This  proposition  made  me  lose  my  head  for  a 
moment,  and  I  felt  rather  nervous.  The  consul-gen- 
eral attributed  my  nervousness  to  the  fact  that  I  was 
facing  an  official  of  the  same  Russian  Government 
against  which  I  had  fought  bitterly.  He  tried  to 
calm  me  and  asked  me  not  to  be  nervous;  but  I  felt 
very  uneasy  not  because  I  had  to  deal  with  repre- 
sentatives of  my  enemies,  but  because  I  was  trying 
to  think  of  a  way  in  which  I  might  use  these  two 
people  as  a  weapon  against  my  enemies. 

I  did  not  doubt,  and  I  do  not  doubt  now,  that  the 
archbishop  and  the  consul-general  were  acting  in  good 
faith.  They  sincerely  wished  that  my  revelations 
should  not  cause  an  upheaval  in  the  Russian- Ameri- 

342       THE  MAD  MONK  OF  RUSSIA 

can  colony.  Consequently,  I  accepted  their  proposal 
with  the  stipulation  that  when  I  received  the  money 
from  them  a  statement  should  appear  in  the  news- 
papers as  to  the  cause  of  the  non-publication  of  my 
articles.  I  then  asked  for  the  twenty-five  thousand 
dollars.  The  consul-general  said  that  he  would  have 
the  money  as  soon  as  he  had  communicated  with  the 
Russian  embassy  in  Washington. 

It  appears,  however,  that  when  the  consul-general 
communicated  with  the  ambassador,  matters  took  a 
different  turn.  I  was  digging  a  pit  for  the  Russian 
Government,  and  the  Russian  Government  was 
digging  one  for  me,  and,  unfortunately,  they  were 
more  successful  than  I.  The  ambassador  instructed 
Evdokim  to  give  me  one  thousand  dollars  in  order 
to  blackmail  me.  I  was  invited  to  his  office,  and  he 
gave  me  this  amount.  I  refused  to  accept  it,  but  he 
prevailed  upon  me,  saying  that  I  must  not  be  nervous 
or  suspicious.  I  took  the  one  thousand  dollars,  fear- 
ing that  my  irresolution  or  refusal  would  shake  their 
faith  in  me,  while  at  the  same  time  I  believed  more 
strongly  than  ever  that  if  there  was  a  plot,  I  would 
be  able  to  nail  them  later  on  the  shameful  post  of 
publicity.  But,  as  I  say,  they  proved  to  be  far  more 
clever  than  I.  Immediately  upon  my  receipt  of  the 
one  thousand  dollars  they  began  by  underground 
routes  to  exercise  their  influence  upon  "The  Metro- 
politan" to  prevent  their  publication.  The  articles 
were  suppressed. 

At  this  time  I  learned  that  the  Russian  embassy 


had  requested  the  British  embassy  to  help  it  in 
punishing  the  monk  who  had  recently  arrived  from 
Christiania,  for  attempting  to  blackmail  the  Russian 
Government.  The  British  embassy  commissioned  a 
diplomatic  agent  to  find  out  what  kind  of  man  I  was, 
what  was  the  object  of  my  coming  to  America,  and, 
if  possible,  other  facts  that  would  enable  them  to  get 
rid  of  me  once  and  for  all.  He  called  upon  me,  in- 
troducing himself  as  the  representative  of  one  of  the 
best-known  New  York  newspapers.  I  was  very 
much  interested  to  learn  how  he  had  discovered  my 
address.  He  said,  "A  combination  of  peculiar  cir- 
cumstances." He  had  been  walking  near  my  house 
on  one  occasion,  he  said,  saw  me,  recognized  me,  and 
followed  me  until  he  saw  me  enter  the  house.  He 
said  that  he  had  seen  my  portraits  very  many  times 
in  connection  with  my  activities  in  Russia  and  that  the 
editor  of  his  paper  had  sent  him  to  ask  for  an  inter- 

I  looked  upon  him  as  "holy  manna."  If  any  one 
had  told  me  that  he  was  an  agent  of  the  British 
embassy,  I  would  have  considered  him  a  devil  instead ; 
but  having  severed  my  connection  with  "The  Metro- 
politan," I  needed  some  one  to  take  charge  of  my 
literary  work.  I  was  very  inexperienced,  but  I  had 
learned  enough  to  know  that  in  order  to  live  in 
America,  just  as  anywhere  else,  one  must  have 
money.  Without  being  too  inquisitive,  I  was  anxious 
to  know  how  much  he  earned  as  a  writer  for  his  paper. 
I   was  much  surprised  when  he   told   me   that   he 

344      THE  MAD  MONK  OF  RUSSIA 

received  seven  hundred  dollars  a  month.  That  was 
enough  for  me  to  open  my  soul  to  him,  to  be  very 
frank  with  him,  for  I  realized  that  I  was  dealing 
with  a  man  of  importance.  Consequently  I  told  him 
everything,  who  I  was,  how  I  had  come  to  America, 
what  I  had  in  mind.  I  showed  him  all  my  docu- 
ments ;  I  told  him  everything  about  Rasputin  and  the 
czar.  But  when,  among  other  things,  I  told  him  that 
Rasputin  contemplated  signing  a  separate  peace  with 
Germany,  I  could  see  a  change  come  over  his  face. 
I  at  once  felt  that  I  was  dealing  with  some  one  who 
was  more  than  a  newspaper  man.  But  having  gone 
so  far,  I  saw  no  harm  in  going  further.  I  told  him 
frankly  of  my  meeting  with  the  consul-general  and 
the  archbishop,  and  I  even  showed  him  the  one 
thousand  dollars  which  I  had  received  and  asked  him 
what  I  should  do  with  it. 

He  was  very  kind  to  me.  He  said  that  he  would 
arrange  everything.  He  took  me  to  the  office  of  his 
paper.  I  gave  my  manuscript  to  the  editor.  This 
convinced  me  that  he  was  the  man  I  had  taken  him 
for,  a  serious,  rehable  person  who  would  arrange 
matters  for  me.  He  also  took  me  to  a  lawyer,  and 
I  asked  the  lawj^er  what  I  should  do  with  the  one 
thousand  dollars  which  I  had  received  from  the  con- 
sul-general. When  I  suggested  that  I  should  give 
it  back,  he  told  me  that  in  America  one  usually  kept 
money  that  was  given  to  one.  I  then  signed  a  con- 
tract with  my  new  friend,  appointing  him  my  literary 
agent  and  placing  myself  for  five  years  at  his  entire 


disposal,  agreeing  that  without  his  consent  I  would 
not  write  a  word. 

So  much  for  what  passed  before  my  eyes.  The  un- 
seen part  of  the  story  was  as  follows:  The  diplo- 
matic agent  went  to  his  next  superior,  who  proved  to 
be  the  naval  attache  of  Great  Britain,  Captain  Hunt, 
and  told  him  that  I  was  not  a  blackmailer,  but  a  very 
interesting  man  who  had  told  many  things  that  would 
be  very  useful  to  the  embassy.  He  told  him  the 
whole  stoi'y  of  the  possibility  of  Russia  signing  a 
separate  peace  with  Germany.  But  Captain  Hunt, 
having  received  this  news,  paid  little  attention  to  it. 
Then,  it  appears,  the  diplomatic  agent  communicated 
directly  with  London. 

Meanwhile  he  kept  assuring  me  that  he  was  giving 
all  my  affairs  the  necessary  attention  and  predicted 
that  the  facts  with  which  I  had  acquainted  him  would 
soon  bring  about  a  change  in  the  ministry  in  Russia. 
In  the  beginning  I  did  not  attach  much  importance  to 
what  he  said,  supposing  that  he  spoke  simply  as  a 
private  person,  and  the  more  so  as  he  always  either 
remained  silent  or  avoided  answering  directly  when  I 
asked  him  how  this  was  to  be  accomplished.  But  I 
was  soon  convinced  that  there  was  some  truth  in  what 
he  predicted.  He  told  me  one  day  that  he  had  news 
that  Stiirmer,  the  head  of  the  German  party  and  a 
friend  of  Rasputin,  had  been  arrested.  When  this 
was  confirmed,  I  began  to  attach  special  importance 
to  everything  he  said.  He  stated  that  unless  the 
court  party  gave  up  the  idea  of  signing  a  separate 

346      THE  MAD  MONK  OF  RUSSIA 

peace  with  Germany,  Rasputin  would  be  killed  and 
the  Romanoffs  would  fall.  At  last  he  divulged  to  me 
how  he  knew  all  these  facts,  saying  that  he  was  a  dip- 
lomatic agent  of  the  British  embassy  in  Washington. 
During  the  days  that  followed  I  was  under  great 
mental  and  nervous  strain,  for  I  was  expecting  to 
hear  news  of  Rasputin's  assassination  and  the  down- 
fall of  the  Romanoffs.  Before  this  took  place,  how- 
ever, the  empress  and  Rasputin  made  desperate  at- 
tempts to  get  rid  of  me.  After  the  revolution  was 
in  full  swing,  my  friend  told  me  that  at  the  end  of 
October,  1916,  a  man  had  arrived  from  Petrograd 
who  had  been  a  chamberlain  of  the  empress  and  a 
close  friend  of  Rasputin.  It  was  Alexander  Erico- 
vich  Pistolkors,  whose  name  is  by  this  time  familiar 
to  readers  of  my  narrative.  Pistolkors  lived  in  New 
York  under  an  assumed  name  and  was  in  some  way 
connected  with  the  ex-ambassador  of  Russia.  Hav- 
ing learned  that  he  was  my  literary  agent,  he  called 
upon  him  on  two  occasions,  and  each  time  offered  him 
one  hundred  and  fifty  thousand  dollars  if  he  would 
in  one  way  or  another  silence  me.  My  friend  re- 
fused to  listen  to  the  proposition,  even  when  he  tried 
to  convince  him  that  he  could  have  enough  money  to 
keep  him  for  the  rest  of  his  days.  I  understand  that 
until  the  last  moment  of  his  visit  here  he  cherished 
the  hope  of  carrying  out  the  mission  with  which  he 
was  entrusted.  But  the  assassination  of  Rasputin  in 
December,  1916,  was  the  end  of  his  hopes.  After 
that  he  immediately  disappeared. 


The  assassination  of  Gregory  Rasputin  and  the 
causes  which  brought  this  about  were  interpreted  in 
many  diverse  ways  in  various  newspapers  and 
periodicals.  The  true  history  of  this  fateful  event  is 
as  follows: 

The  chief  organizer  of  the  plot  was  Prince  Felix 
Sumarakoff,  who  killed  Rasputin  for  political  and 
romantic  reasons.  Sumarakoff  was  a  great  friend 
of  the  English  and  a  sound  Russian  advocate.  He 
saw  clearly  that  if  Russia  signed  a  separate  peace 
with  Germany,  she  would  have  dug  for  herself  a  grave 
preceding  political  death.  But  if  he  set  energetically 
to  work  to  prevent  this,  it  was  also  because  Rasputin 
was  his  personal  enemy.  Rasputin  had  on  one  occa- 
sion tried  to  compromise  the  Grand  Duchess  Irena, 
the  wife  of  Prince  Sumarakoff.  He  did  this  because, 
prior  to  his  marriage  with  the  Grand  Duchess  Irena, 
Maria  Golovina,  a  relative  of  Grand  Duke  Paul 
Alexandrovich,  was  desperately  in  love  with  Felix. 
Maria  was  a  girl  of  the  purest  type.  She  admired 
Rasputin  very  greatly,  especially  as  her  mother 
looked  upon  Rasputin  as  a  god.  Maria  was  my 
spiritual  daughter.  She  was  at  that  time  twenty- 
eight  years  of  age,  but  her  purity  of  soul  was  such 
that  she  was  virtually  a  child.  When  she  discovered 
that  Felix  was  infatuated  with  the  Grand  Duchess 
Irena,  Maria  came  to  me  and  asked  for  advice.  I 
said  to  her: 

"As  you  are  religious  and  try  to  live  according 
to  the  Scriptures,  it  will  be  easy  for  you  to  follow  my 

348      THE  MAD  MONK  OF  RUSSIA 

council  and  advice.  Forget  Felix,  if  he  looks  in  this 
other  direction.  If  you  continue  to  insist  on  what 
you  want,  you  will  only  meet  with  trouble." 

Unfortunately,  my  council  proved  to  be  weaker 
than  Maria's  attachment  for  Felix.  At  this  time 
Rasputin  was  boasting  openly  that  he  had  the  power 
to  unite  or  separate  the  hearts  of  people.  Maria 
heard  this,  and  grasped  at  Rasputin  as  a  drowning 
man  grasps  at  a  straw.  She  fell  on  her  knees  before 
him  and  said:  "Father,  you  are  holy,  you  can  do 
everything."  Rasputin  assured  her  that  this  was 
true.  "I  have  only  one  wish:  I  do  not  want  to  see 
Irena  beloved  by  Felix,"  she  replied.  "You  alone 
can  accomplish  this.  See  that  the  heart  of  Felix 
turns  from  Irena  to  me."  Rasputin  promised,  and 
immediately  began  to  take  action.  By  all  possible 
means  he  tried  to  foment  discontent  and  quarrels 
between  Felix  and  his  betrothed,  but  he  did  not 
succeed.  Felix  married  the  Grand  Duchess  Irena. 
Maria  was  veiy  unliappy  about  this,  but  she  did  not 
lose  hope  that  Rasputin  with  his  power  would  force 
Irena  to  divorce  Prince  Felix,  and  that  he  would  then 
marry  her. 

When  I  was  undergoing  my  imprisonment  in  the 
Floritschev  Hermitage,  Mme.  Lochtina,  the  friend 
of  the  empress,  was  living  near  me,  as  I  have  already 
told.  Maria,  not  ceasing  to  love  me  as  her  spiritual 
father,  although  I  was  a  political  outcast,  wrote  to 
me  through  Lochtina.     The  letters  were  full  of  a 








p  d 

rt-  o 

O  Q 


(7  „ 

•^  I— ( 

s;-  o 

»  o 











deep  resolution  regarding  her  hopes  for  Felix;  she 
still  continued  to  pin  all  her  faith  on  the  unscrupulous 
Rasputin.  I  did  not  write  directly  to  her,  but 
through  Lochtina  I  advised  her  strongly  to  forget 
Prince  Felix  and  have  nothing  to  do  with  Ras- 
putin. Unfortunately,  love  is  blind.  Maria  simply 
strengthened  her  hopes  that  Rasputin  would  finally 
succeed  in  bringing  about  a  break  between  Felix  and 
his  wife.  Would  he  have  succeeded?  Who  knows? 
The  shot  of  Prince  Felix,  the  offended  husband  and 
patriot,  put  an  end  to  all  his  plans.  Rasputin  was 
killed  in  Prince  Felix's  own  house.  The  voice  of 
fate  never  spoke  more  loudly  than  in  his  death.  He 
perished  through  the  weapons  with  which  he  had 
played  for  fifteen  years. 

The  news  published  in  the  American  press  that 
Rasputin  was  killed  by  the  grand  dukes,  who  were 
disturbed  by  his  influence  at  court,  had  no  ground 
whatsoever.  Rasputin  commanded  the  Russian 
court  and  the  czar  and  the  czarina  for  a  decade  and 
a  half,  and  during  that  time  the  grand  dukes  had 
ample  opportunity  to  kill  him  a  hundred  times. 
They  did  not  do  so  and  they  would  never  have  done 
so  because  they  understood  very  clearly  that  the  czar 
and  the  czarina  were  hand  and  glove  with  the  saint. 
Rasputin  never  fought  against  the  grand  dukes.  On 
the  contrary,  he  always  endeavored  to  win  their 
friendship.  And  as  for  the  grand  dukes  and  the 
court  party,  it  was  immaterial  to  them  who  influenced 

352      THE  MAD  MONK  OF  RUSSIA 

the  czar  so  long  as  this  influence  did  not  conflict  with 
their  interests.  They  simply  did  not  associate 
openly  with  Rasputin,  because  they  knew  exactly 
what  the  people  and  what  society  thought  of  this  vile 

The  death  of  Rasputin  made  a  terrible  impression 
upon  the  czar  and  the  czarina.  During  the  first  days 
they  were  absolutely  demoralized.  But  the  czarina 
is  a  woman  of  powerful  will  and  vengeful  nature. 
She  decided  that  in  order  to  glorify  the  memory  of 
her  prophet  she  should  realize  one  of  his  most  ardent 
wishes  during  the  last  days  of  his  earthly  existence, 
which  was  to  sign  a  separate  peace  with  Germany. 
It  was  in  order  to  honor  his  memory  and  avenge  his 
death  that  she  decided  at  any  cost  to  take  this  step. 
But  her  efforts  to  compel  Russia  to  perform  this  dis- 
graceful act  only  increased  England's  influence  upon 
the  democratic  governing  classes  in  Russia.  The 
soul  of  this  influence  was  Lord  Milner,  just  as  on  the 
Russian  side  the  soul  of  the  Revolution  was  Paul 
IMilukoff.  The  death  of  Rasputin  synchronized  with 
the  climax  reached  by  the  Russian  people  in  their  dis- 
content with  the  existing  disorder,  injustice,  and 
tyranny,  and  the  czarina's  intention  to  glorify  the 
death  of  the  prophet  by  signing  the  separate  peace 
with  Germany  filled  to  overflowing  their  cup  of 
patience.  Rasputin's  death  was  hailed  by  the  people 
with  joy;  it  stimulated  the  will  of  the  people  to  settle 
their   accounts   with   the  ruling  classes   of  Russia. 


Thus  the  Romanoffs  fell,  and  thus  democracy 

During  the  last  ten  years  the  so-called  revolution- 
ists and  socialists  have  awakened  a  democratic  con- 
science in  Russia.  They  shattered  the  autocracy  in 
the  consciousness  of  the  Russian  people,  and  pre- 
pared them  gradually  to  crush  and  spurn  the  gods 
they  had  sei'ved.  But  it  cannot  be  asserted,  despite 
all  this  preparatory  work,  that  the  downfall  of  the 
Romanoffs  and  the  triumph  of  democracy  are  a  direct 
result  of  the  work  of  these  pioneers.  The  guilty 
parties  to  the  fall  of  the  monarchy  were  those  who 
opposed  most  energetically  the  friends  of  democracy. 
Among  them  were  the  czarina  and  Rasputin.  They 
themselves  cut  the  branch  upon  which  they  were 
sitting.  The  great  service  that  the  revolutionists 
rendered  the  cause  of  democracy  lies  in  the  fact  that 
the  Russian  people  themselves  caused  the  downfall 
of  the  Romanoffs  and  Rasputin  and  took  the  gov- 
ernment into  their  own  hands.  The  power  of  the 
Romanoffs  belongs  now  and  forever  to  history,  and 
the  anxiety  felt  in  different  quarters  that  the  dead 
monsters  may  rise  again  and  come  into  power  is 
vain.  Many,  many  days  of  trial  and  sorrow  await 
the  Russian  people,  but  they  will  not  come  from  the 
dead  monsters,  but  from  inner  disintegration. 

If  some  one  were  asked  to  whom  I  would  suggest 
placing  a  monument  in  commemoration  of  the  revolu- 
tion, I  would  say,  "Empress  Alexandra  and  Ras- 

354       THE  MAD  MONK  OF  RUSSIA 

putin."  When  I  was  unfrocked,  and  photographers 
came  to  take  my  picture,  they  asked  me  to  write  an 
autograph  on  one  that  they  brought  to  me  a  few  days 
later.  I  wrote,  "Truth  hves  forever,  and  woe  to  him 
who  opposes  it!"  When  I  wrote  these  words,  it  was 
a  challenge  to  my  persecutors,  who  were  attacking 
so  bitterly  that  truth  which  I  was  defending.  My 
words  were  fulfilled.  Truth  triumphed,  and  all  those 
who  opposed  it  are  now  reaping  their  reward.  Ras- 
putin is  dead,  and  buried  ui  the  grave  which  he  dug 
for  me.  Czar  Nicholas  is  in  Siberia,  and  on  his  way 
to  banishment  passed  along  the  very  route  over  which 
he  and  his  ancestors  had  for  centuries  driven  like 
cattle  to  hard  labor  and  suffering  thousands  and 
thousands  of  innocent  Russian  martyrs. 

Could  any  one  look  into  my  heart  and  read  what  is 
written  there,  he  would  see  that  there  is  no  rejoicing 
over  the  misfortunes  of  my  former  powerful  and  now 
fallen  friends,  no  rancor,  no  desire  for  vengeance; 
indeed,  quite  the  contrary.  When  I  remember  the 
past,  a  sentiment  of  pity  overtakes  me  for  the  fallen 
Romanoffs  and  particularly  for  Rasputin,  with  whom 
I  was  in  the  closest  friendship.  I  have  pity  for  the 
Romanoffs,  but  not  enough  to  make  me  wish  that 
they  might  return  to  the  Russian  throne.  I  cannot 
bear  any  ill  will  toward  them,  because  I  am  too 
happy  to  witness  the  triumph  of  those  principles  for 
"which  I  had  to  play  my  own  last  card,  going  counter 
to  those  on  whom  depended  my  earthly  existence  and 


all  my  earthly  happiness.  It  is  my  intention,  as  soon 
as  conditions  warrant,  to  return  home  to  Russia  by 
way  of  Japan.  I  shall  make  it  a  point  of  most  sacred 
duty  to  pay  my  respects  to  the  former  czar  of  Russia, 
to  have  a  heart-to-heart  talk  with  him  and  recall  days 
gone  by. 

As  for  the  imprisonment  of  Czar  Nicholas,  there 
is  in  it  one  of  the  ironies  of  fate.  In  Tobolsk  lie 
buried  the  remains  of  Joann  Maximovich,  who  died 
two  hundred  years  ago.  The  Holy  Synod  had  never 
opened  his  tomb  for  the  worship  of  the  Russian 
people  and  had  never  acknowledged  him  as  a  saint. 
In  1916,  in  order  to  gain  authority  among  the  people 
of  Tobolsk,  Rasputin  decided  to  proclaim  Maximo- 
vich a  saint  and  open  his  tomb.  The  Holy  Synod 
protested.  Rasputin  replied,  "What  can  the  Synod 
do  if  I  wish  it?"  The  result  was  that  the  high 
procurator  of  the  Synod  had  to  tender  his  resignation, 
and  the  czar  was  forced  to  issue  an  edict  in  regard 
to  the  promotion  of  Maximovich  to  saintship  and  the 
opening  of  his  tomb.  To  the  petition  of  the  Synod, 
in  which  they  tried  to  prove  to  the  czar  the  unfitness 
of  making  this  man  a  saint  and  the  impropriety  of  re- 
moving his  remains  to  a  place  where  the  people  could 
come  for  worship,  the  czar  replied  as  follows: 
"Open  the  grave  of  Joann  Maximovich.  I,  Nicho- 
las II,  am  convinced  that  Joann  Maximovich  is  de- 
fending the  cause  of  Russia  and  of  my  family  with 
particular  fervor  before  God."    At  the  very  moment 

356      THE  MAD  MONK  OF  RUSSIA 

when  he  was  writing  these  words  the  Germans  were 
capturing  Warsaw.  A  year  later  he  was  sent  to 
Tobolsk  liimself. 

I  am  again  reminded  of  the  irony  of  fate.  When 
I  turned  against  Rasputin,  I,  together  with  Bishop 
Hermogenes,  was  banished  from  the  capital.  Later 
Hermogenes  was  sent  to  the  monastery  of  Jirovitsky, 
in  the  government  of  Grodno.  In  this  monastery, 
despite  his  high  ecclesiastical  position,  he  was  sub- 
jected to  great  humiliation.  He  was  deprived  of 
freedom  of  movement  or  communication  with  his 
friends,  was  forced  to  follow  the  severe  regulations 
prescribed  by  the  monastery,  and  was  in  banishment 
right  up  to  the  time  when  the  Germans  took  Grodno. 
When  the  Germans  approached  this  place,  Hermo- 
genes, by  order  of  the  czar,  was  transferred  to  a  mon- 
astery near  Moscow.  There  this  old  man  was  kept  in 
a  damp  unhealthy  dungeon.  He  became  ill  and  as 
white  as  snow,  my  friends  have  written  me.  The  revo- 
lution broke  out.  Hermogenes  was  appointed  Bishop 
of  Tobolsk  in  place  of  Barnaby,  the  "marmot,"  Ras- 
putin's friend,  who  is  now  in  confinement.  When  the 
czar  was  brought  to  Tobolsk  as  a  prisoner,  he  there- 
fore, in  a  sense,  came  under  the  authority  of  the  same 
bishop  whom  he  had  punished  and  persecuted  for 
five  long  years.  I  have  said  that  I  no  longer  con- 
sider Hermogenes  my  friend.  That  is  true.  I  fell 
out  with  him  once  and  I  no  longer  sympathize  with 
his  beliefs;  but  I  admire  him  just  the  same.  Among 
hundreds  of  Russian  bishops  he  is,  according  to  my 


deep  conviction,  the  only  man  who  lives  up  to  his 
high  ecclesiastical  duties.  This  man  is  indeed  a 
saint.  I  am  sure  that  even  now  he  prays  to  God 
for  me  that  I  may  return  to  the  church.  His  gentle- 
ness of  heart  has  no  hmits,  and  because  of  this  gentle- 
ness of  heart  and  his  belief  that  the  welfare  of  the 
Russian  church  lies  in  autocracy,  his  servants  in 
Tobolsk  have  openly  declared  their  sympathies  with 
the  imprisoned  czar,  whose  abode  is  not  far  from  the 

With  regard  to  the  ultimate  destiny  of  the  czar,  all 
the  papers  in  Russia  are  printing  the  prediction  of  a 
peasant  that  Nicholas  will  end  his  days  as  a  monk  or 
a  pilgrim.  I  feel  that  this  is  not  unlikely.  Know- 
ing the  mystical  tendencies  of  the  czar,  I  believe  that 
he  will  either  become  a  monk  or,  following  the 
example  of  Rasputin,  a  pilgrim.  He  will  do  this 
when  the  education  of  his  son  Alexis  is  completed. 
Then  the  czarina  Alexandra  will  leave  him,  and  prob- 
ably return  to  Hesse-Darmstadt. 

Sic  transit  gloria  mundi. 


On  the  night  of  August  23,  1914, 1  had  a  prophetic 
dream.  As  a  rule  I  do  not  hke  to  hsten  to  people 
who  speak  of  dreams.  Most  of  my  own  dreams  I  do 
not  like,  and  I  do  not  speak  about  them,  for  they  are 
usually  the  result  of  an  overtaxed  brain.  Still,  I 
believe  in  prophetic  dreams.  They  do  not  come  to 
every  one,  but  they  come  to  natures  that  feel  deeply. 
To  assert  that  Rasputin  owed  his  high  position  at 
court  only  to  the  tricks  of  a  charlatan  would  be  quite 
untrue.  In  his  nature  Rasputin  possessed  much 
which  is  as  yet  unknown,  and  with  these  unknown 
potentiahties  he  was  able  to  obtain  ascendancy  over 
many  people.  One  of  them  was  the  power  to  re- 
ceive prophetic  dreams  in  which  he  foresaw  the 
future,  and  these  prophetic  dreams  of  his  were  not 
of  secondary  importance  among  his  occult  powers. 
As  for  myself,  I  also  have  these  dreams,  but  rarely. 
All  the  principal  chapters  of  my  life  have  been 
predicted  by  them  in  a  most  remarkable  way,  and 
even  now,  on  the  strength  of  one  of  these  dreams,  I 
know  who  is  right  in  this  war,  and  who  is  wrong,  and 
what  the  end  of  the  war  will  be.  For  four  years  I 
have  been  trying  to  publish  this  prophetic  dream. 



Every  time,  through  circumstances  independent  of 
my  will,  I  have  failed. 

On  August  23,  while  living  in  Christiania,  I  found 
myself  in  the  company  of  certain  fellow-country- 
men. We  conversed  for  a  long  time  about  the  war. 
My  friends,  who  had  been  living  for  several  years 
in  Germany,  maintained  that  she  was  responsible  for 
the  war  and  that  she  must  be  brought  to  her  senses; 
for  she  had  tried  to  imbue  humanity  with  physical 
strength  only.  For  my  part,  knowing  little  about 
Germany  and  the  character  of  the  Germans,  and  hav- 
ing been  brought  up  in  the  realm  of  academic  and 
scholastic  deduction,  I  set  to  work  very  hotly  to  prove 
that  all  men  are  brothers,  that  we  should  love  one 
another,  and  that  there  was  no  necessity  for  war 
at  all.  After  a  long  and  heated  discussion  I  re- 
turned to  my  home,  read  through  the  editorial  re- 
ports of  several  Russian  newspapers  as  to  the  march 
of  events,  and  fell  into  deep  meditation  as  to  the 
destiny  of  the  warring  nations.  In  this  peaceful  state 
of  mind  I  dropped  asleep. 

I  dreamed  that  I  was  standing  on  the  map  of 
Europe,  near  Denmark,  and  before  my  eyes  stretched 
the  land  of  Russia  and  western  Europe.  On  the 
borders  between  Poland  and  Germany  I  saw  the 
dried,  dead  trunk  of  a  tree;  it  had  no  branches,  no 
leaves,  only  long  naked  limbs.  In  one  of  these  limbs, 
turned  toward  Russia,  was  a  little  cage  of  woven 
steel  bars.  The  cage  was  about  a  yard  and  a  half 
wide,   and   inside   was    a   little   nest   composed   of 

360      THE  MAD  MONK  OF  RUSSIA 

feathers  and  straw.  In  this  nest  I  could  see  the  egg 
of  a  turtle.  On  the  ground  under  that  cage  were 
two  snakes,  stretched  lengthwise  over  the  territory  of 
Germany  and  Austria.  The  first  snake  was  most 
hideous,  very  fat,  strong,  and  about  three  yards  long. 
The  size  of  the  head  was  very  small  in  proportion  to 
the  body.  It  was  black  in  color,  interwoven  with  red, 
and  it  writhed  on  the  ground  like  a  spring,  its 
flexibility  showing  a  tremendous  strength.  It  was 
too  monstrous.  I  could  not  look  upon  it.  I  ob- 
served the  other  snake,  which  was  light  gray  in  color. 
This  was  about  a  yard  long,  and  its  skin  showed  a 
certain  degi'ee  of  emaciation.  When  it  attempted  to 
writhe  like  the  other  snake,  it  showed  its  lack  of  real 
strength.  It  kept  trying  to  rise  toward  the  cage  con- 
taining the  nest,  but  through  weakness  was  unable 
to  reach  it. 

There  were  other  snakes  much  smaller  than  these 
two,  but  they  were  quiet,  although  it  could  be  seen 
that  they  were  endowed  with  a  certain  strength,  and 
in  their  eyes  gleamed  malignancy  and  treachery. 
My  attention  was  strongly  drawn  to  the  snake  which 
was  endeavoring  to  reach  the  cage.  Suddenly,  like 
lightning,  the  black-and-red  snake  crept  up  the  trunk 
of  the  tree,  put  its  head  through  the  bars  of  the  cage, 
seized  the  egg  in  its  mouth,  and  threw  it  to  the 
ground.  The  egg  cracked,  and  the  snake,  descend- 
ing as  swiftly  as  it  had  crept  up,  lapped  the  contents 
of  the  egg. 

I  was  frantic.    I  did  not  know  what  to  do.    I 


thought,  "Will  not  help  come  from  somewhere  to 
crush  this  terrible  monster?"  I  cast  my  eyes  about 
me,  and  they  were  arrested  near  Belgium.  I  saw 
there  a  little  two-story  house,  half  destroyed  and  with 
wooden  shutters  closed.  I  also  saw  the  Atlantic 
Ocean,  and  on  the  horizon  I  could  see  some  sort  of 
object  which  reminded  me  of  a  light  cloud.  In  this 
cloud  was  something  that  moved.  I  was  much  in- 
terested in  the  vision,  but  at  this  instant  out  of  the 
little  house  emerged  several  people.  First  came  a 
man  of  high  stature,  thin,  with  energetic  features, 
very  muscular,  and  walking  with  a  military  step.  I 
had  at  that  time  never  seen  a  portrait  of  President 
Wilson,  but  this  man  resembled  him.  Behind  him 
was  another  man,  smaller  in  size,  but  strong  and 
clean-shaven,  as  was  the  first.  Then  came  a  third, 
a  man  of  medium  height,  rather  fat,  with  a  black 
mustache.  Then  two  or  three  others  followed — 
small  as  pygmies,  but  with  a  certain  dignity  in  their 
faces,  and  with  the  same  object  in  view  as  the  large, 
strong  man.  I  had  no  time  to  observe  them  closely, 
as  they  immediately  went  in  the  direction  where  the 
huge  snake  had  swallowed  the  egg.  The  first  man 
threw  out  his  hand  to  grasp  the  snake,  but  with  a 
movement  as  quick  as  a  flash,  it  escaped  in 
the  direction  of  Switzerland.  I  had  only  time  to 
see  that  the  snake  was  still  powerful,  although  from 
the  movement  of  the  chest  it  showed  signs  of  exhaus- 
tion. Then  the  hand  of  the  strong  man  grasped  the 
smaller  snake  and  shook  it  so  energetically  that  in  the 

362      THE  MAD  MONK  OF  RUSSIA 

twinkling  of  an  eye  it  broke  into  pieces.  One  flew  in 
the  direction  of  Russia,  and  I  woke  up. 

The  next  morning  I  went  to  see  my  friends  again 
and  said:  "I  renounce  my  assertions  of  yesterday, 
not  under  the  influence  of  your  arguments,  but  on 
the  strength  of  a  remarkable  dream  which  I  had  last 
night."  I  begged  them  to  write  the  dream  down  and 
also  to  make  an  explanatory  note  of  my  interpretation 
of  the  dream.  They  did  so.  It  was  then  signed  by 
three  men,  and  two  weeks  later  this  written  statement 
was  sent  to  Petrograd. 

My  present  interpretation  of  the  dream  differs  a 
little  from  the  interpretation  which  I  gave  originally, 
because  there  were  a  few  details  which  I  myself  did 
not  understand  at  the  time ;  but  now  everything  is  as 
clear  to  my  mind  as  daylight. 

The  Allies  were,  in  a  sense,  brothers  to  humanity. 
The  Germans,  Austrians,  and  their  allies  were  the 
snakes.  The  old  tree  trunk  was  the  structure  of 
Russia.  The  cage  represented  the  circumstances 
which  made  Russia  democratic.  The  fresh  turtle  egg 
was  the  young  Russian  republic.  It  was  drained  by 
Germany,  for  as  it  fell  it  cracked.  This  means  that 
Germany  is  taking  advantage  of  the  movement  of  the 
Bolsheviki  to  split  the  unity  of  the  democratic  ele- 
ments in  Russia  and  seize  the  contents.  I  cannot 
believe  that  Russia  has  lost  all  her  military  might.  I 
think  she  will  recover,  but  not  for  the  present.  The 
dream  signifies  that  she  is  very  weak.  The  Allies, 
contrary  to  all  German  strategy,  will  break  through 


Belgium  and  Germany  to  the  Eastern  front,  Galicia. 
The  German  military  power  will  be  divided,  one  part 
will  be  on  the  East  surrounded  by  danger  menacing 
from  Russia,  but  the  main  forces  of  the  German 
power  will  be  in  that  corner  through  which  it  is  ad- 
vancing now,  Italy.  The  victory  of  Germany  over 
Italy  is  the  last  victory.  The  more  she  draws  her 
soldiers  to  that  corner,  the  better  it  will  be  for  the 
Allies,  because  there  Germany  is  digging  her  gi'ave. 
Austria  will  be  divided  into  parts,  and  one  part, 
Galicia,  will  go  to  Russia.  All  the  nationalities  will 
receive  full  political  autonomy.  The  most  important 
part  in  the  final  issue  will  be  that  played  by  the 
United  States.  I  am  willing  to  submit  myself  to  any 
torture  if  my  dream  does  not  prove  true. 

When  the  war  is  won,  I  shall  return  to  Russia. 
After  the  experiences  of  my  still  brief,  but  eventful, 
life,  I  have  come  to  the  conclusion  that  there  is  a 
supreme  being  for  whom  the  people  have  given  the 
little  word  "God,"  and  I  feel  that  there  is  an  immortal 
life  for  the  human  soul.  These  are  the  best  convic- 
tions that  one  may  have.  To  love  one's  neighbor,  no 
matter  who  he  may  be,  no  matter  to  what  nationality 
he  may  belong,  whether  he  is  white  or  black,  is  the 
greatest  thing  of  all.  To  earn  the  piece  of  daily 
bread  from  the  soil  with  one's  own  hands  is  the  most 
honest  work  on  earth.  To  these  principles  I  wish  to 
be  faithful  to  the  end  of  my  days,  and  in  realizing 
this  I  hope  to  find  that  true  happiness  which  is  attain- 
able by  every  one  on  earth. 


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